Backlit Blowout

Backlit Blowout The morning sun bathes the dunes in warm light, while the air temperatures were in the 40's. This dune has a rather large blowout in the center. A blowout is an area with no vegetation to hold the sand in place, so wind and weather erodes it. While I believe this is a natural process, the National Park service wants people to keep off of the dunes so they can recover. By the number of footprints in this blowout, it's not working. While I respect the "keep off" order, I have doubts about it. It seems that if the path to the top of a dune is blocked off, people simply walk around it, creating much more erosion as they stomp and kill the marram grass next to the path. Now the path is larger, and eroding more. For what it's worth, I think the existing paths should become trails, and people should be allowed to walk on them. Providing they stay on the path, erosion would be kept to a minimum. Instead, visitors will ignore the signs, and blaze new trails, further eroding the dunes.

Coming in Waves

Coming in Waves To get to this part of the beach, we enjoyed walking on the rocks placed there to prevent erosion. More of a rock climbing excursion than a walk on the beach. At times when the lake is just right, we've been able to walk in front of the rocks, without climbing, but that's usually when the wind is blowing offshore, pushing the water toward Wisconsin. Of course, we could have simply walked on the street to our left, but what fun would that be? As we rounded the curve of the shoreline, this was our view. Nothing special - due to the industry on the horizon - yet the manner in which the waves lined themselves up prior to pounding the shore attracted me. More like the ripples in drifting sand, or cultivated rows in a farmer's field, than water hitting the beach; perhaps hurdles between the start and the finish line. In this cold weather, definitely hurdles.

Crawling Out

Crawling Out A leaf, moments before a wave washed it off the beach by a large wave. Autumn this year arrived late, but ended quickly. The beaches of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore were covered in leaves from the Oak trees atop the dunes last weekend, many carried to Lake Michigan by wind, others by small streams. This particular leaf appears to be crawling out of the water like a crab or crayfish.

Evening at the Fulton Windmill

Late Evening at the Fulton Windmill Built in the Netherlands, and shipped to Fulton, Illinois, "De Immigrant Windmill" stands nearly 100 feet tall, on the bank of the Mississippi River. The working windmill was assembled by Dutch Millwrights who travelled to Fulton for this express purpose. While the authentic smock windmill is only 13 years old, it is fully functional, including wooden gears, and two millstones. Bilinga wood was used to construct the windmill. Bilinga is a clear wood (very few knots)that resists rot and insects. In conjunction with the Windmill Cultural Center, a local museum displaying Dutch artifacts, the windmill teaches visitors about Fulton's Dutch heritage, and the industrial methods of the past.

Running Through the Dappled Light

Running Through the Dappled Light On our way back to the car, the boys ran under a canopy of autumn gold and green, filtering the sunlight, creating a multitude of shadows on the ground. The running figures strobed as they passed in and out of the patches of light. Mississippi Palisades State Park

Rolling Countryside

Rolling Countryside A landscape more familiar to that of Kentucky, the rolling hills of the Galena, Illinois area are beautiful all year, but a real treat in autumn. Rust and yellow leaves dot the fields, along with plenty of cattle, hay and barns.

Fall at the Palisades

Fall at the PalisadesA bright, crisp Fall day was the perfect excuse to drive out to the Mississippi Palisades State Park. Fall color seems late this year, and it looks as if we arrived at the peak of color here in northwestern Illinois. Following a track between the Mississippi River, and the tall, stone cliffs known as palisades, a train rounded the distant bend moments after we arrived at the lookout point. The trees here turn a rust color in Autumn, and they put on quite a display for us in the early afternoon sun. This area of Illinois was not covered in glacial ice during the last ice age, so the ancient cliffs and canyons remain to this day. We encountered so many breathtaking autumn views along the roads of western Illinois, unfortunately, I was unable to capture many of them as I drove along. I need to find a chauffeur so I can point the camera out of the car window!