Just before I made a trip up to the Traverse City area this past September, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was named “The Most Beautiful Place in America,” with over public 100,000 votes, from a poll on ABC’s Good Morning America. On this trip I learned the legend of the Sleeping Bear Dunes which is:
A mother bear and two cubs on the Wisconsin side, launched out, trying to swim to Michigan. When only twelve miles from land when one cub drowned. With the remaining cub she struggled to gain the beach. Two miles later, the second of her beloved cubs also perished.
The mother reached the beach, alone, and crept to a resting place where she lay down facing the restless waters that covered her lost ones. As she gazed, two beautiful islands slowly rose to mark the graves of the cubs. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands (North and South Manitou Islands) to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear.
The story is so sad!
It had been since I was a child that I had seen the dunes, and after a morning spent in the sun with my friend photographing the dunes, I have to agree that it is one of the most beautiful places in America. Here are a few of my shots from that day.