Whaleback-by Anne Pentuik - The Leelanau Conservancy

Whaleback–by Anne Pentuik


I jump out of the car, excited to hike up to my most favorite spot in the whole world: Whaleback. The breeze blows through my hair as I make my way up the path. The little white blossoms of sweet woodruff fill the air with the fresh smell of spring. I hear the birds singing their songs, chattering back and forth. I am looking forward to reaching the top.

I love being alone on this peaceful trail, and I hear the voices of my family behind me , but I have to be alone to take in the beauty of this place. My dog, Starbuck, runs up beside me, panting , and then backtracks to make sure my family is still there. I find myself lost in a world of thoughts and imaginations. This climb is a wonderful place for collecting your thoughts. As I climb higher up the trail becomes flatter. I pick up my pace to make it to the platform at the top of Whaleback before the sun sets. I have made it to the most beautiful spot in the world.

Yes, the walk up is wonderful, but the reward of reaching the top is most gratifying. The seagulls soar below me screeching and then diving into the water. I see the gold-pink sun melting into the sparkling waves of Lake Michigan. Both North and South Manitou are visible along with Pyramid Point. I see the face of Whaleback scattered with rocks and sand. There are storm clouds wandering across the lake bringing spring storms. I sit dreaming, praying, wondering. What a great place, I think to myself. How neat it would be to see deer and then I look down and there, ten deer cross the land below me. Then something breaks the silence. My family has reached the top. I have a feeling that we will be going back down soon.

Starting back down the hill, Starbuck stays by my side. It is darker now that the sun has set, but the sweet woodruff light up the trail as if it had a stream of lights going down it. I jump over a tree that has fallen and now I can see our car. Starbuck anxiously waits to get in the car. The hike is done, but it was breathtaking.

Whaleback: the best place in the world. Great for thinking and full of beauty. If you were to ask me there is one place in the world that I thought was the best, it would be Whaleback.

Written by Ann Pentuik during her school years at Leland Public Schools. Her father, Perry, says that years later Anna’s husband, Bill White, asked him for approval to marry Anna at the lookout.