October 10- I left Grand Valley today at 5pm to head roughly 2 hours north to Ludington State Park. The park lies on about 10 miles of frontage on Lake Michigan, and is Michigan’s most visited state park, and for good reason. The drive there was perfect- sunny and 70 degrees- perfect for the windows down and some country music playing. When i was about 20 miles away, I had 30 minutes to sunset, which i didn’t want to miss. I normally hypermile my car to try saving gas, so 55mph highway is my kind of driving style. Realizing there was no way to possibly make it there in time for sunset at this speed, I did a more socially acceptable 75mph the rest of the way there. I reached the beach at 7:10pm. Sunset was at 7:12. I made it by the skin on my teeth.
After the sun set, I laced up my shoes (okay, I have speedlaces, so really, I just slipped them on) and began to run the beach. I ran out for 4 miles until i reached Big Sable Point Lighthouse. At this time, It was completely dark and the stars were starting to appear. The moon was also about 3/4 full, so there was plenty of light. On the way back, I came across many groups of sandpipers- little nocturnal birds about the size of a chickadee. I thought this was so cool because they normally aren’t seen very often. The silhouette of the dunes meeting the sky was on one side of me, while the dark-pink-turned-midnight-blue sky was on the opposite. Everything was so calm and relaxing.
I was the only person i saw on the beach all night, even at the public beach. It was a perfect run under the stars, no headlamp required. I totaled just over 9 miles tonight, and must have had a runners high because I averaged 6:45 while on the beach! I went back to the campsite and settled down with a fire and some s’mores… and that country music I mentioned earlier 😛