Exploring the Dunes

The Path to the Top The high winds and cold temperatures reminded us that winter is approaching. While standing on top of the fore dunes, we felt the full brunt of the weather, but just over the ridge the winds were blocked, and temperatures were much more tolerable. On windy days, the beach all but disappears, so it's a perfect time to explore the secondary dunes, and the nearby woods. Most visitors are attracted to Lake Michigan and the beaches along the shore, but there are so many other aspects of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore that can't be found anywhere else in the area. These are the places I like to explore. To The Woods Certain areas of the park show a perfect dune progression from beach to forest; West Beach is one example. But the progression can be seen to some extent at all the beaches. It's these unusual areas that attract me, the woods that seem to begin at the foot of a grassy dune, almost as if they were planted by hand, purposefully. Why are there single conifer trees in the middle of a Marram grass meadow? These landmarks can be seen from quite a distance, and are often the target of our hikes. I've explored the dunes for many years, most weekends each year, and I still find new things to explore. What's also interesting is the change that takes place over time to places I visit, things are rarely the same twice.

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