Grand Haven State Park

You could get whiplash traveling with us. One day, you're one place. The next day, you're someplace else, miles down the road. This morning we find ourselves parked in an RV parking lot that pretends to be a campground. We're not complaining, though. It's lovely here. It's no wonder so many Michiganders and non-resident travelers have decided to spend their last summer weekend here. 

Yesterday's road looked a lot like this most of the way...straight, with trees lining both sides, a little bit of fall color, and a few Confederate flags thrown in for curiosity's sake. 

It was a relatively short drive to reach Grand Haven State Park.

While we waited in the queue to check-in, I could see the two lighthouses off to the right.

It took a bit, but finally, we were ready to set up. Sadie sat tapping her little kitty paw impatiently waiting for the catio to be hung on the side of the RV.

We wasted no time heading out to the beach. It looked for all the world like an ocean beach, with fine soft sand. If I didn't know better, I might think I was standing in Miami.

Looking in the other direction, we could see the two lighthouses.

This guy was kind of a photo hog. We'll see him again in a little bit.

I've read some about "ghost forests" here in Michigan. Ghost forests are ancient forests that have been covered over by sand, and then, reappear following a big storm. We noticed just this one log sticking out of the sand, and it was immovable. It could be a part of a ghost forest...or it might be something completely different. There's no way to know.

To the west lies Lake Michigan, and to the north lies the Grand River channel. The lighthouses are situated on a breakwater that protects the harbor here. We paused to watch boats coming and going.

Turning around, we headed out for a better look at the lighthouses. Before we go, let me just give you all the ways you could die out here...and behave yourselves, okay?

There was no kidding around with these warning signs. Here are the pictures of two young men who have died out here.

On the opposite side was this notification stating that over 50 people have died in rip currents or from being washed off the structure since 1891. It's a long period of time, but still...more than 50 lives cut short is a sobering statistic.

And just to bring the point home, this little memorial was erected there.

Okay, but we're going to be careful, aren't we? We're going to stay well back from the edge, and no funny business.

This is my "stonehenge" shot.

It you're wondering why it's a "stonehenge" shot, it's because I look down a line of identical structures like this, and I'm reminded of the supposed reason for the original Stonehenge...a ritual involving the alignment of the sun. Here's an example from Creative Commons.

(Image credit: "Stone Henge Sunset" by Cheng I is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.)

Looking to the north, we could see this:

Looking south, we noticed one intrepid swimmer in the choppy Lake Michigan waters.

And it was really choppy yesterday. Here's a little video so you can see for yourself. (And again, for those who weren't listening last time, if you can't see the video, then click on the title of this post to be taken to the actual blog. You'll be able to see the video there.)

About halfway out, we started seeing memorial plaques on the support structures. This was probably a fund-raising effort.

Some of them were touchingly clever.

At the far end, we got a look at the "entrance" light.

This is where it would be easy to get swept off the pier by waves. As I stood there, waves crashed over the top, wetting my feet up to the ankles.

Here's another "stonehenge" shot looking in the other direction.

And here's another view of the middle light.

Here's our friend again. Head's up, everybody.

Here's an explanation of why these lights exist. They were a gift from the United States government as a part of the National Lighthouse Preservation Project.

And there were more named bricks here, paid for with donations.

We also came across a survey marker. 

For some reason, these excite me. Don't forget...I'm old. We've seen them in the Tetons, and in El Malpais National Monument, and near Hoover Dam.

Here's an interesting sign, showing all the lighthouses on Lake Michigan.

It was a little hard to read, and so I've cropped the text to make it larger:

We headed back to the RV, rested up, and had some dinner, then went out again at dusk. Some hard core people were still soaking up rays from the waning sun.

Walking over near the river, it was magical looking toward the town of Grand Haven. I believe it's possible to walk into town along this walkway.

Boats were returning...

And the pier and lighthouses were lit.

Here's my final "stonehenge" shot.

Okay, so today, we'll be driving about 20 miles south to Holland, Michigan. It was another town on my list of can't-miss-it small towns in the USA. The Google tells me there are two quilt shops there, and we'll visit at least one of them. 

I started my latest stitchery block yesterday, and I had it this far when we packed up for our day of driving.

It's time for breakfast, and Mike just set two strips of bacon in front of me for my dining pleasure. The sun is just now starting to show itself, and so I suppose it's time to get a start on our day. Time for a second cup of coffee, and then I'll get myself up and around for another day of sight-seeing.


Barbara said...

At some time, often when we least expect it, we all have to face overwhelming challenges. When the unthinkable happens, the lighthouse is hope. Once we find it, we must cling to it with absolute determination. When we have hope, we discover powers within ourselves we may have never known- the power to make sacrifices, to endure, to heal, and to love. Once we choose hope, everything is possible. ~ Christopher Reeve

gpc said...

Fifty people lost from that pier but many, many others lost to rip tides and other piers along the shore. The great lakes are nothing to mess with, beautiful as they are. Watch for petoskey stones as you walk the shores!

Sara said...

Isn't that a fabulous area? One of my best friends grew up in Muskegon, and that's where we rented a cottage on the beach one summer. The sand was like sugar, and we had a view of the lighthouse from the porch. We spent one day exploring Grand Haven on that trip. It's somewhere I hope to return to some day, and I understand why my friend returns several times a year.

Anonymous said...

When in Holland, I can almost reach out and touch you. Imagine all the beautiful sights you are taking in.... I get to see them all the time. I do appreciate them. I
Glad Smitty and Sadie are enjoying the trip as well.
Enjoy the gorgeous sunsets.

Darlene S said...

Wow, so beautiful. What a great place for walking too. I had no idea it was as beautiful as it is. They may have cold winters, but the summer & fall certainly would make up for it.

Julierose said...

What lovely photos--the Lake looks like an ocean...that pier is amazing...
kinda scarey walking there I would think...
You are seeing so many wonderful things and places...thanks for sharing....;)))
hugs, julierose

piecefulwendy said...

Well, if those warning signs aren't enough to make one wary, I don't know what is. Yikes. You have some great stonehenge shots, especially the last one. This was a great post - I'd like to visit this spot some day!

Susan said...

We been out on that pier many times. Believe it or not, they can be beautiful in the winter with the ice and snow that covers them. Hope you get to see the windmill in Holland. I have been to both of the quilt shops there.

Chase Klop said...

That’s my hometown! The danger is real on that pier, but mostly during storms. If you want to see some very different pictures of the pier, Google Grand Haven pier in winter. The front of it will be covered in thick white ice! It is different camping there. No grass for the cats!