All the snow and cold of the Polar Vortex left much of the Dunes covered in snow, so Steph and I dropped a car off at Sleeping Bear Point and parked another at the start of the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive with a plan to ski the entire Dunes. We left at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon having no idea how long it would take. But the temperature and winds were mild, so if we were out longer than intended, we’d be OK.

For the first half of our ski, we didn’t think to take photos. This was the first picture taken. I loved this healthy white birch and pink granite boulder looking like a sleeping coyote between me and the tree.

Here is Steph cutting up a dune with juniper bushes in the background. It is amazing how many dunes and valleys we went up and down. Luckily the snow was packed and fast.

As we headed closer to the Point, we came across more and more sand mixing into the snow -- especially in the less-protected areas that had rock-hard snow drifts like the one I am skiing over. I have to admit, while not good for the skiing, a little tan gives everything a more familiar and prettier look!

Here is another beautiful and healthy white birch sitting on the edge of the steep sand bowl just up from the group camp site. There is still a long ways to go and it’s getting late in the day.

Here is Steph in front of high dune with Alligator Hill in the background. She looks pretty energetic and happy. It has been a long-time goal of hers to ski across the dunes.

Unfortunately, the last two miles of dunes were exposed sand. We were unable to ski it, so we dropped down this secret overgrown two track that dropped us off the dunes. Then we zipped along the Heritage trail, and broke trail through the low dunes and fields just west of Glen Haven. It was fully dark by then. Steph was tired and suspicious of my way-finding skills as I circled my way around dense forests and steep inclines to the truck. Luckily, well, maybe miraculously, we popped out on an unplowed road just 100 yards from our truck. We climbed into the truck already planning for a next time.