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VIPP Visits Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes

Published: Wednesday, 05 Jul 2017
Author: VIPP
Department: Visiting International Professional Program

On a beautiful Saturday in June, VIPP participants along with their families and friends took a one-day bus trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northwest lower Michigan. According to an informal ABC "Good Morning America" poll, the Sleeping Bear Dunes was voted the most beautiful place in the United States, beating out areas in Hawaii, California, Colorado, and everywhere else. Our participants  were eager to see the famous dunes for themselves, and they were not disappointed.  The majesty of nature  mesmerized our participants and they fell in love with Michigan once again. VIPP is pleased to have organized this field trip as part of our new class, "Discovering Michigan." The trip was both educational and fun-driven. VIPP participants checked into the park headquarters and  watched a 14-minute video on the history of the dunes along with the legend (Please check our blog post on sleeping bear legend). The group rode the bus around the scenic trail, enjoying the beautiful scenery and taking lifetime pictures. At one stop, the group was standing at the top of the dunes - 450 feet up (137 meters). Some daring people  were at the bottom lake playing and trying to climb up. They looked like "ants" from our vantage point, which testifies how the big the dune is. The wind was howling, 50-70 mph. The group all got sand-blasted, and many of participants had sand in their ears for several days after the trip!

After the scenic drive, the group went to the dune-climb. Everyone enjoyed two hours of free time, climbing and spending time with family and friends.  Following are VIPP participants' pictures and testimonials about the field trip. VIPP will continue offering an exciting field trip to our visiting international students.

One of our participants, Daoming (David) Dai, who used to run marathons, spent the entire two hours running all over, up and down, the dunes. We thought we had lost him, but he was just having a great time running and enjoying the scenery. I hope we can take this trip again next semester (in cooler weather and when the leaves are changing color). Being able to see such a beautiful place is exactly what it means to experience Pure Michigan! – Ian Leighton, VIPP instructor of Discovering Michigan

Group photo from the scenic drive overlooking the dune climb and Lake Michigan: Photo by Ian Leighton

In the middle of the hot, vast dunes, there are some patches of green grass, which gives us hope. Similarly, in the long trek through life, there is a father's shoulder, which gives kids strength and support. That father is me. – Hui He

Having a great time with my son on the sand dune: Photo by Hui He

Not only were we attracted by the beauty here, but also we got a new life experience from here. The natural world of the Sleeping Bear Dunes is filled with beautiful and magnificent scenery, including wilderness islands, lush forests, clear lakes, unique and rich flora and fauna. People can swim, hike, go fishing, boating, and skiing. We can enjoy the changes in the four seasons, and a harmonious ecological environment.

For me, all imagination comes from a beautiful legend.  Years ago, there was a forest fire on the other side of Lake Michigan, where a mother bear and her two baby bears escaped from the forest and leapt into the lake. They swam for a long time; the mother bear swam to the shore, but her babies didn't make it across the lake. The two baby bears became the two little islands of the lake. The sad mother bear, not wanting to leave her babies, become a large sand dune, overlooking the two islands. Looking at the beautiful dunes, I want to tell this legend to my children. – Lei Zhang

Thinking about sleeping bear dunes legend: Photo by Lei Zhang

When visiting the Sleeping Bear Dunes National lakeshore, half of the park is lake water, half is hot sand like a flame. In the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, your body is in the hot desert, but the blue water in your eyes makes you feel relaxed and happy. It's really wonderful to hear the waves after you've walked through the desert. – Bo Yang

When you look at blue water you feel relaxed and happy: Photo by Bo Yang


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