Welcome to Michigan Lakes!

We are all about Michigan lakes. Life on, in and near Michigan's lakefront brings a richness that rewards for a lifetime. Have a story or comments on your experience? You can be one of the first to share it with the world on our Michigan lake directory.
  • Error loading feed data.

Beyond the Blockhouse: Muskegon State Park July 26 09

A hobbit trail leads to the Bog Bench at Muskegon State Park. To be sure, there are many hobbit trails that wind through the wooded back dunes north of Muskegon, but this one is special. From its trail head at the storied Blockhouse that overlooks Lake Michigan and all points surrounding, it descends into a hardwood forest, clambers back up the side of a dune, then leads you across a small blowout and along a wooded ridge of knobbly witch hazels, entish oaks, and elvish white pines. From there the trail descends into a forested valley and traces the shore of a jewel-like bog lake bordered to the south, west, and east by more dunes, and to the north by flatter, less topographically challenging forest land.

I have tramped through countless woodlands in my four decades as an amateur naturalist, but I have never seen another woods so filled with mystery and magic as these. They are Sherwood Forest. They are Lothlorien. I’ve not yet seen a leprechaun scamper into hiding among the lowbush blueberries, but that just goes to show you how secretive leprechauns are. As for hobbits, I’m waiting for the day when I find one sitting on the Bog Bench. I’ll step off the main trail through an archway of pine branches and there he’ll be, smoking his pipe and contemplating the afternoon sun that dances in mirror fragments on the waters.

I could go on at length about the bench that sits on the shore of the tiny lake and overlooks an island of the encroaching wetland…about the trail as it follows its course around the lake and along the shoulders of wooded dunes shaded by hemlocks and woven with trailing arbutus…and of course, about the famed Blockhouse perched high atop a sandy pinnacle off of Scenic Drive, overlooking the land where lumberjacks once harvested long-vanished forests of virgin white pine. But there are other sides to Muskegon State Park as well. Broad, sandy beaches. Campgrounds. A channel where the Muskegon River, after broadening into the wide waters of Muskegon Lake, empties at last into the vast expanse of Lake Michigan.

On this day, after circling the lake and ascending the hobbit trail back up out of that mythical valley, Lisa and I headed south down Scenic Drive past the beach to the channel. Sailboats plied the waters past the lighthouse, heading inland after an afternoon out on Lake Michigan. A handful of fishermen were trying their luck on a walkway next to the main boardwalk. A wide variety of dogs were out walking their people—a Jack Russel terrier, a chihuahua, a couple of magnificent collies, and more.

From the pier, we headed back north to the beach to watch the sun set. Evening along the Lake Michigan shoreline is magical, and this evening was especially so. Orange-rimmed turrets of storm clouds far to the north thrust skyward, silhouetted by the melon sky. A host of sea gulls wheeled through the air, descending for the night with the sun. Blond sand and green marram grass blazed in the last rosy rays, then gradually receded into shadow. A beautiful afternoon on Michigan’s west coast had crowned itself with a radiant sunset.

And now, at last, it was time to go home.




Written by Dave.