Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (Or “How to do Sleeping Bear Dunes without wanting to die a billion times.”)
You know that expression about learning from your mistakes?
Well, I never really thought that applied to me.
Instead I tend to repeat my mistakes.
Over and over and over again.
And then a few more times for good measure.
Experience and age have brought me many things. An appreciation for sensible shoes. That little “ooff” sound that I hear coming out of my mouth when I stand up after sitting down for too long. Pores on my face so large you could probably park a car in there.
Not so much.
Until, that is, a few weeks ago, when I decided to stop by Sleeping Bear Dunes on my way to my campsite on Leelanau Peninsula.
Kind of by accident.
And kind of because I didn’t bother reading the warning in the park’s pamphlet that described the trek as a “hot, exhausting, three to four hour trip.”
Unlike countless mistakes before, I actually learned from the mistake that was the Dunes Climb and vowed to not climb a single dune on my trip back to the park.
Or ever, ever, SWEETBABYJESUSSOHELPMEGODEVER again.
It may seem hard to avoid dunes in a park where the word dunes is one-third of the name. But it was actually surprisingly easy. I think the creators of the park must have foreseen the possibility of a whole great number of people doing the Dunes Climb and then shortly thereafter vowing to never, ever do that again.
And that’s where the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive comes in.
The pretty, leafy drive winds around the park, and has a number of pull-off points where you can get out of your car, walk a few feet, take a few dune-y pictures or a few lake-y pictures, and then get back into your car.
And you never once have to suffer the threat of dehydration or the fear that YOU’RE GOING TO DIE OUT HERE ALL ALONE AND WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO MY CAT????
In fact, there was even a sign at one of the stop-off points warning you against the horrible-ness that is dune-climbing.
Despite this sign, I still saw people climbing down the dune and then flailing around down at the bottom of it when they realized that the sign was right and they were really, really bad at making life decisions.
And this was no ordinary dune, you guys. This was one mother-freaking seriously crazy-pants dune. If any dune deserved a sign telling you not to climb down it, it was this dune right here.
What is wrong with people??? It’s like they do stuff without even thinking or bothering to read warnings or, ummm, yeah…
I’m really glad I don’t know anyone like that.
What travel mistake have you made and vowed to never, ever SWEETBABYJESUSSOHELPMEGODEVER do again?