sand dunesSleeping Bear Dunes in Northwest Michigan is a place to be reckoned with. I visited the park with my boyfriend one summer when I was in my twenties. I wore a pair of flip-flops and gripped a 12-oz bottle of water. Eyeing the first dune, it occurred to me that maybe I should have done my homework. It was a monster dune, peaking at about 150 ft .

We trekked up the dune, and then down the other side. Sixteen minutes walking in soft sand. No problem. We were rewarded with a second dune, equally intimidating. Another quarter of an hour. Already the water had run out and my feet were blistered where they slipped off my sandals onto the hot sand.

Still, the first three or four dunes were fun. The next five to eight were challenging. My calves and glutes burned as hot as the sand. After that, I hardly remember. Every time I reached the top of a dune, I expected to be rewarded with a view of the lake. Instead, I faced another dune.

Only sheer will, or stubbornness, kept me going. I would not turn back before reaching Lake Michigan. I lost count of the number of dunes. Straight up, straight down, the final one peaking at over 400 ft.

Later that night, as I nursed my blisters, my boyfriend rattled on about the continental glaciers that had spread south from Canada, eventually forming the dunes we had climbed. He marveled at the vast and unique contours seen from atop each dune and wondered at the beach grasses and sand cherry that grew there.

In my single-minded determination to reach the great lake, I hadn’t seen it. Not any of it.

I had forgotten a simple truth. “It’s not the destination so much as the journey.” Captain Jack Sparrow/Pirates of the Caribbean

What have you missed in the quest to meet YOUR goals?

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