Michigan Lights - The Trek to Big Sable

My first look at the Big Sable.  (dwm photo 9/19/17)
The day I visited the Big Sable lighthouse, it was the tenth of ten visits on a day started across the state line in Michigan City, Indiana.

We were, as is said, "burning daylight" when I pulled into Ludington State Park and asked the park ranger for directions.

Each lighthouse visit includes a fair amount of walking. I like walking down the shore for long shots; trying to get as close as possible; and search for interesting angles.

Big Sable (Grande Pointe au Sable in French) is on the mainland, but it stands alone.

The ranger directed us to park in a nearby parking lot, and explained a .8 mile walk through the campground would lead me to a 1.3 path to the light.  In and of itself, not a big deal.  However, it was less than two hours until sunset and a 4 mile walk would use most of it.

Looking back to the light from the shore.
I took off at a brisk pace with an eye out for the setting sun.

Mindful of the clock, I started to jog,  thankful it was packed down unlike the dunes which seemed to grab every foot fall.

I guess it was a quarter-mile out when the black lantern cap peeked over a dune, I slowed to a walk to get my tripod and camera ready to shoot.  Another 10 minutes and more running later, I set up the shot you see above left.

Jogging aside, the journey winding through the stark beauty of the stacking sand made this visit more precious since it required more work to get there.

In 1866 Congress approved funds to build a lighthouse to keep ships safe along this stretch of treacherous territory.  A year later, it was leaving its light on every night.

When it began its service, lumber was the primary commodity on the Great Lakes.  Soon after Big Sable began working; coal, food, and the tourist trade relied on its guiding beacon.

Big Sable Lighthouse built 1867.
The benefit of dwindling daylight is the better light quality for the shots, but since I took off without a flashlight or cell phone I had to work fast.

Running most of the way, I was hot and sweaty when reaching the car; I was told there would no such shenanigans in the future!

The rest of the week added 16 more lighthouses to my photo "collection," but the isolated location and experience to get there will keep the visit to Grande Pointe au Sable among the most memorable.

Technology has made these lights obsolete in the 21st Century.

However, just as I was relieved to see the lighthouse above waves of sand on my visit; I'm convinced today's professional and amateur sailors like to see the reassuring beam over the water.