Sunday, December 1, 2019

December 1, 2019 Nola's Birthday Hike at The Indiana Dunes National Park

I'll have to admit the only reason I saw this beautiful sunrise is because I am an old man. I woke up because I had to pee for the third time since I fell asleep seven hours ago. So getting old has some advantages. 

The forecast calls for another dreary day. Since I am up and the sun is trying to make an appearance, I decided to take the dogs for a hike. Wait a minute, there is one other reason...it is my little girl's birthday. I have to take Nola for her birthday hike.


We got Nola in the summer of 2015. She was two years old at the time. Oslo and her got along great instantly. She was and still is the smallest dog we've ever had. But she's been a good dog from day one. She also gets so excited to be in the car that she can't control herself. It's hard to explain but Chrissy & I started calling this bark talking. Click the video above to watch my crazy little girl. 

Climbing the stairway to Heaven. Okay it's just the stairway to Central beach. But sometimes it feels like Heaven to me.

For some reason my I-Phone has trouble focusing on Nola in the leaves.
I had to pull Yeti back from the edge when I realized the cliff has collapsed.
Not only is there no easy way down to the beach...

...there is no beach.

It looks like long buried concrete has fell onto the beach as the dunes continue to collapse into the lake.

Looking east toward Mount Baldy, another beautiful day in paradise.

The birthday girl had to take a look for herself, she decided there was no way to access the beach.

So we headed back to the car. The lake looks so calm from here. I drove over to Kemil Beach.

Years ago, I used to walk from the parking lot over this dune to get to the beach. The NPS closed the trail access to protect the dune. It worked wonderfully. The dune grass covers the entire dune now and that helps protect the dunes from erosion.

Now we walk on the path down to the beach.

Something seemed off to me once we got on the beach. This area usually has the biggest beach area between the shore line and the dunes. 

There was a lot of debris washed up past the beach into the dunes.

I'm not sure if the black sand is from the incredible amount of erosion since I was last here or due to a flooding accident at US Steel in Gary. I've seen the black sand appear when the dunes erode and the highly compressed black sand at the bottom is visible.

I was going to hike into the State Park and try to find the trails at the east end of the park. But it was blocked off. At first I thought this was because there is no beach about 100 feet past here.

Then I found this notice that the area is closed because they are culling the deer population. Since they have no natural predators, this happens in many of the parks around here.

So we headed east toward Dunbar Beach. All of a sudden, Mother Nature gave Nola a birthday gift of sunshine. And we all got to enjoy it as it broke through the clouds.

More debris tossed far from the shoreline.

The sun lit the dunegrass and the lake up beautifully.

We still had really dark clouds in every direction except south. I love the sun lit areas with the dark clouds. The contrast is great for photos.

The beach kept getting smaller and the dune erosion was severe.

Yeti wasn't sure which way to go.

So we followed him for a bit.

Then Nola decided to turn around and head east. She's the birthday girl...

...so east we hiked. The eroded dune cliffs were about 6-7 feet here.

I've never seen this before. The shore line has risen so much that there is dune grass in the water. A couple of years ago, this grass was 40-50 feet from the shore line.

The sun broke through and now we have blue sky. It felt much warmer than 41 degrees now.

More dune grass in the lake. Yeti and Nola just kept walking along the beach.

Looking back west it looked like a nice day.

Looking east not so nice. But I noticed when the beach got rocky, it also was much bigger. The more rocks the better protection from storms and erosion.

It turned into a beautiful morning for a hike on the beach.

Nola letting the sun shine on her.

Once again Yeti is direction challenged.

While I rested on the beach, Nola posed for me.

Yeti getting restless. This made me laugh. Because Oslo loved to stop and enjoy the scenery and Nola used to get restless.

Now Nola is the old dog and likes to rest.

This area is completely covered with rocks and it has the greatest distance from the shore to the dunes. Though the dunes are eroded here too.

Still looks like storms over the lake.

Eventually we headed up to Lake Front Drive to walk back to the car. But Nola saw a trail that led back to the beach...

....so we walked back on the beach.

The blue skies made it over the lake before we left the beach. That was a perfect gift for all of us.