Sunday, June 3, 2012

Memorial Day adventure

Sometimes I like to go exploring and take little road trips to different areas, and try to find natural areas I have not yet visited. On Memorial Day it was hot and windy, and the perfect day to be on the lakefront.  I had looked up various areas online and first visited a nature center I had been to a few years before; I walked the paths and then got back in my car to a place that was shown to be right on Lake Michigan.

The road was winding, going steadily downhill, and turned into an almost gravel road with steep wooded hills rising on either side and a lttle stream running down with it. I realized I was in the ravines which run along a part of the North Shore.  I was disappointed by the very small parking area at bottom, and the deserted looking rocky beach as well as an old deserted building.  

It was fascinating and spooky - it reminded me of the deserted building that led to another world in the movie "Spirited Away"

Near the building were some stone steps.  I went up these and there was one pathway going towards the left; and another going to the right heading uphill. By now I realized there was more to this area than just the run-down building.

With the lake on my right and  I went up the path


 and I felt a growing sense of wonder as I saw

... at the top a low stone fence and a little archway leading into a garden.

And I was reminded of my favorite childhood story, The Secret Garden, and while this was on the top of a high ridge it felt so isolated and quiet.

A secret garden

Sitting inside the walled area were three teenage girls, who said hello to me but looked uncomfortable.  (When I went past on my way down they were gone; I'm afraid they may have thought I was someone's parent and they didn't want to be seen).

Going through the garden, at the other end there was a wide green lawn with trees and benches on the cliff overlooking the lake.

I went to sit on this bench next to this remarkable tree, and nearby was this small plaque:

It brought tears to my eyes, making me think of the
loss of my own brother.

On the other side of the grassy area was a wood. I spotted a gazebo and heard the sound of guitar music.  I didn't go any further, thinking I could come back another day....

Just outside the garden

View from the top

  When I got back down I was thinking I had finally found a nice quiet place - that is natural, secluded (no sounds of traffic going by) and near the lake - and I would come here again to think, perhaps to write, to daydream....
Unfortunately there was a sign in the small parking area I hadn't noticed before. It stated that parking was only allowed with city sticker or a permit from that town, otherwise there was a $75 fine.
Oh well.  Lucky I didn't get fined at least.

Someday I will come back.

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