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My Top Ten Winter Photos of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

Updated on April 15, 2017
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Chris enjoys photographing the places he visits. He shares these photos as travel articles and also mixes them with creative writing.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is located in Leelanau and Benzie Counties in Northwestern Michigan. As a resident of Leelanau County, I never tire of spending time hiking the dunes or enjoying the beaches. Here are some of my favorite photos. I hope you enjoy the tour.

North Manitou island From Sleeping Bear Dunes

North Manitou Island, part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, sits seven miles from shore in Lake Michigan.
North Manitou Island, part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, sits seven miles from shore in Lake Michigan. | Source

The Manitou Passage

The photo above shows the seven miles of open water between Sleeping Bear Dunes on Michigan's northwest shoreline as well as North and South Manitou Islands in Lake Michigan. The area between the islands and the mainland is known as the Manitou Passage. While there is plenty of deep water for the large Great Lakes freighters to navigate the passage, the shorelines of the islands and mainland are littered with great boulders which have caused many shipwrecks over the years.

One such wreck was known as the Rising Sun, which went down in 1917 just offshore from Pyramid Point which is part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Divers and snorkelers are able to explore sixteen of the wrecks, while there are 45 or more wrecks which have not yet been discovered. The deepest place in the passage is 335 feet or 102 meters. The average depth of Lake Michigan is 287 feet or 85 meters.

Shalda Creek on Her Way to Lake Michigan

Shalda Creek runs from nearby Little Traverse Lake, through three miles of cedar swamps and finally into Good Harbor Bay of Lake Michigan
Shalda Creek runs from nearby Little Traverse Lake, through three miles of cedar swamps and finally into Good Harbor Bay of Lake Michigan | Source

White-tailed Deer

white-tailed deer come out of the forest, onto the dunes to enjoy the sunshine and to eat the buds from low hanging branches of trees.
white-tailed deer come out of the forest, onto the dunes to enjoy the sunshine and to eat the buds from low hanging branches of trees. | Source

Sleeping Bear Dunes In Winter

Looking across Sleeping Bear Dunes, with dune grass showing through the snow and  North Manitou Island sitting seven miles off shore in Lake Michigan.
Looking across Sleeping Bear Dunes, with dune grass showing through the snow and North Manitou Island sitting seven miles off shore in Lake Michigan. | Source

The Ecological Importance of Dune Grass

Dune grass is important to Sleeping Bear sand dunes as it reduces wind erosion of the sand. In the winter, snowshoers and cross country skiers can travel across the dunes at will, but in the summer, it is best to stay on marked trails in order to preserve the dune grass.

Sleeping Bear Bay, Lake Michigan

Snow, ice, fresh water and sunshine.  This is a beautiful place to call home.
Snow, ice, fresh water and sunshine. This is a beautiful place to call home. | Source

The Beautiful and Graceful White-tailed Deer

A white-tailed deer forages on the tips of low hanging branches.
A white-tailed deer forages on the tips of low hanging branches. | Source

A Confluence of Water, Rock and Ice

I traversed a quarter mile of ice to get this photo of waves breaking against boulders in the shallows of Sleeping Bear Bay.
I traversed a quarter mile of ice to get this photo of waves breaking against boulders in the shallows of Sleeping Bear Bay. | Source

A Serene View of Grand Traverse Bay and Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan

This photo isn't actually taken from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, but is still at least in the same county.  This is looking across Grand Traverse Bay from the village of Omena in Leelanau County.  Old Mission Peninsula is in the distance.
This photo isn't actually taken from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, but is still at least in the same county. This is looking across Grand Traverse Bay from the village of Omena in Leelanau County. Old Mission Peninsula is in the distance. | Source

Snowy Owl

A pair of snowy owls landed in this tree as I was snowshoeing on the dunes.  The other flew about twenty feet over my head and, I could see her eyes looking down on me as she flew past.
A pair of snowy owls landed in this tree as I was snowshoeing on the dunes. The other flew about twenty feet over my head and, I could see her eyes looking down on me as she flew past. | Source

Wild Republic Cuddlekins 12" Snowy Owl

Wild Republic Cuddlekins 12" Snowy Owl
Wild Republic Cuddlekins 12" Snowy Owl

I'll bet you know someone who would love to cuddle with this 12" snowy owl.

 

Snowy Owls

Snowy Owls, majestic, two foot tall creatures are normally found in the arctic tundra, but many are being seen farther south this winter. The reason, according to scientists, is that the main food source for snowy owls, lemmings, were plentiful last summer. This allowed the adult birds to raise more young, so they are spreading out in search of food. I was very happy to have gotten to watch these two birds for several minutes as they searched the dunes for unwary rabbits and mice.

The Sleeping Bear in Winter

This was taken looking across Sleeping Bear Bay toward Sleeping Bear Point.  The snow covered sand dunes catch the sunlight as it peaks through the clouds.
This was taken looking across Sleeping Bear Bay toward Sleeping Bear Point. The snow covered sand dunes catch the sunlight as it peaks through the clouds. | Source

Thanks for stopping by and looking through my favorite photos so far of the winter of 2013. I have another hub about Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan, and I hope you will visit it as well, if you have not done so already.

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    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 19 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Audrey, I'm glad you liked this hub and thank you for sharing it. Another FF challenge? That would be fun. I am just finishing my participation in the NYC Midnight challenges. It has pulled me away from HP for several weeks. I'll work on another challenge and present it soon. It will be a nice way for me to get back here 100%. Thanks again.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 19 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Thank you Chris for these beautiful photos and stories of the areas. You are lucky to live in that area where you can enjoy the picturesque scenery. I hope you offer another flash fiction challenge soon, as I really enjoy them. Sharing this hub. Blessings, Audrey

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Chris, dear friend, forgive me please, these advantageous photos wanted to view again on this Thanksgiving afternoon.

      They're just beautiful.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Nadine May, Actually I didn't have to do anything special to get the slide show at the beginning. If there are multiple photos in any hub, clicking on the first hub will bring up the slide show of all photos. You can look at the following hub to see it as well.

      https://hubpages.com/autos/classic-cars-displayed-...

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      May I ask you how you added the slideshow of your images on: The Manitou Passage as seen from Pyramid Point on the National Lakeshore. on the top of your hub. Its really interesting to start a hub that way.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      Good morning Chris from lake erie time ontario canada 8:28am - what a lovely way to start the day with my first cup of hot apple cider and this is such a beautiful photographic essay of where you live.

      Ironically the world is a small place as I live not too far from you and right across the lakeshore road from me is lake erie itself.

      I would like you to meet my hub buddy Kathi as she is also from Michigan under the hub name FOSSILLADY and like you she is a world class photographer.

      Thank you so much for your fan mail and coming from a great writer and photographer really means a lot.

      Sending you warm wishes and good energy from Colin and his cats Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Thank you fo visiting gih, I am glad you enjoyed the hub. The birds were so exciting to watch.

    • gardenideashub profile image

      Ravi Wahi 4 years ago from 3045 South Creek Rd

      Sounds Good ! Very happy to have watch birds.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Thank you Martin, I appreciate your visit.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for these outstanding pictures.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Chris, I loved the Snowy Owl. I have yet to see one myself.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Deb, you would love it in the spring. The migrating birds love a lot of the habitat around the dunes, and with all the water, that just brings more species. What did you think of my snowy owl?

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Beautiful pics, Chris. The Dunes sure sounds like a great place to visit.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Come on Becky. Put on the snowshoes and the parka. You can do it. Actually, when it is in the teens and you stay out of the wind, you can get very warm snowshoeing. It is the wind that really can make it miserable. Thanks for visiting Becky, and I am happy that you like my photos.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Beautiful photos. I will never take any like this because I work really hard at staying inside when it is that cold. This is the only way I will see things like this. Thank you for showing the wuss what she is missing.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Thank you Michael. I am glad I was able to share these photos with you today.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Outstanding.

      Thanks for unselfishness of you heart, by exposing the fruit of our hard work.

      Up & beautiful.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Eric, thank you for that. I was out on the dunes one day when the wind was blowing and it was about 12 degrees. THAT was cold. My fingers wouldn't work the camera, but that didn't matter because the camera wouldn't work either.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Beautiful beautiful photos. That is the coldest hub I have ever read.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Bill, thanks for stopping and browsing through my gallery today. There is lots to do if you visit. The other hub that I made reference to goes into more detail.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great pics, Chris! I've never been that far north in Michigan. Thanks for the pictures. Some day I'll get there to see it for myself.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Thanks for visiting David. It is beautiful. I am lucky to live in such a place.

    • davidlivermore profile image

      David Livermore 4 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Very pretty area. Voted up!

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