Photo below by Andrea
A fascinating place to visit while hiking lies within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Located in the northwestern part of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, Sleeping Bear Dunes is home to beautiful beaches, historic lighthouses, wilderness camping, spectacular views of ocean-like Lake Michigan, miles of rolling sand dunes, and dozens of trails. Sleeping Bear Point Trail is particularly interesting because it is where the Ghost Forest appears to unsuspecting hikers.
The sand that makes up the landscape of the Sleeping Bear area is constantly moving. This phenomenon is not necessarily noticeable from one day to the next, but year after year the tiny quartz grains shift little by little. Constant winds blow off of Lake Michigan causing the dunes to migrate and expand, and for new dunes to grow.
Over time, the drifting and accumulating sand will bury whatever is in its path. This is true for man-made structures such as the U.S. Life-Saving Station (now a maritime museum) which had to be moved in the 1930s due to encroaching sand, and natural objects such as trees.
When migrating sand moves into a wooded area, it gradually engulfs and kills the trees. As the years pass and the sand continues on its journey, the trees are eventually uncovered. Those that manage to remain standing appear as ghosts – dead, white, and stripped of their branches.
A group of ghost trees haunts Sleeping Bear Point Trail somewhere around the halfway point and is a captivating sight especially if one is not anticipating such an encounter.
These trees once lived happy forest lives but were killed, perhaps hundreds of years ago, when westerly winds blew across Lake Michigan and slowly buried their woodland home in sand. Who knows how long these enduring phantoms will remain, wraith-like as they withstand the elements, surprising innocent hikers and plotting their revenge...