We had some visitors from Germany for a couple weeks and decided to show them some of the great natural features of Michigan. We did a lot of sightseeing and a lot of camping. Naturally, Vander came with and it was a special trip for him because he finally learned that he could swim!
Taking a break from driving to stop and see the Mackinaw Bridge
We had reached our destination, the lower Tahquamenon Falls and Vander was helping the girls get there a little faster!
The lower falls
Kristin, Vander and I decided to take the 4 mile hike to the upper falls. It is a somewhat challenging trail but there were plenty of river banks to stop and let Vander have a drink. Vander was splashing around in the river at one point, when another group of hikers were coming up the trail. They heard the splashing, saw fur and black face and starter quietly saying to each other “It’s a bear!”. Then they turned their heads a little further, saw Kristin and I, realized it could not possibly be a bear, felt a little embarrassed, and then mentioned how jealous they were because they were not splashing in the river as well on this hot day.
Phew! 4 miles and 2.5 hours later, we made it with one tired dog! It was his longest most challenging nature trek yet.
The final walk to the upper falls presented the biggest challenge of the day, no back see-through stairs. A little bit of encouragement and he did just fine.
The very scenic upper falls…
On the way back to the lower peninsula we stop to take a break at the other side of the bridge where Vander takes a moment to reflect on his short but interesting life thus far… 🙂
Our next stop was Sleeping Bear Dunes. Dogs are not allowed on the dune walk, which is where this photo was taken. Might have been for the better because the sand was VERY hot and we would have had to carry a good bit of water for him.
Sleeping Bear does however have a lot of beaches where pets are allowed. On the back of the park guide there is a map, which shows all the beach front where pets are and are not allowed. We of course knew which ones we would be visiting.
Vander was a winter puppy and so we had to wait a while before we could introduce him to water. On this trip we had a goal of getting him to swim, which he did with enough throws of a big stick into the “deep end”.
Vander making a nice bow wave! 🙂
“Hey, why don’t we come here more often?”
Chillin’ out after swimming and watching all the nice ladies walk by and getting all the compliments…
Wow, Brian and Kristen: What great photo’s. It sure looks like you introduced Vander to water in one spectacular way. Thanks for sharing.
As often as I’ve been to MI, I’ve never made it to any water. These photos are just so beautiful! Vander certainly is swimming in style in that crystal clear water.
Vander did an excellent job on the open stairs. I like the way he is paying attention to what he’s doing. You can be very proud of your very handsome boy! Thanks so much for sharing Vander and Pure Michigan with us.
Brian and Kristen,
This is a super post. I love ALL your photos. Vander is such a gorgeous boy….and a lucky boy to go camping and hilking with you. That water makes me want to take a swim in the lake!
LOL, “it’s a bear!”
Great photos of Vander — he is growing into quite the hunk!
Really? All of these beautiful pictures were taken in Michigan? I need to get out more often and explore. Gorgeous!
You are all such a beautiful family – of course that gorgeous dog fits right in! The waters are so clear and clean looking. When we go in our lake, you lose sight of the bottom within a few feet. Michigan has some spectacular parks – even the scene at the bridge was amazing.
It’s wonderful that Vander has these great experiences at his young age. He looks so happy and comfortable with everyone and everything. It reminds me of my childhood in a family with three little girls, growing with big German Shepherds who also went everywhere with us. My sisters and I enjoyed quite a bit of freedom, and now I understand why my parents felt so secure as we played anywhere we wanted, with Duchess I, and later, Duchess II always nearby. I am so happy to finally have my “W-Dutch.”
What a gorgeous bear! The other hikers were undoubtedly jealous, and they should have been.
I hope you stopped at Cut River Bridge and gave everybody a chance to go down to the water there–always my parents’ favorite place to wear out the children before the next stage of sitting in the back seat.
Great pictures! Vander is one lucky pup!
Vander reminds me so much of Koda! That big head and big ears and goofy personality!
What a gorgeous place, thanks for sharing MI with us!
Wonderful pics! Northern Michigan is just so beautiful. I don’t think most folks know just how beautiful. We have a pack that Roman wears when we hike, that way he can carry his own treats and water 🙂