Friday, February 7, 2020

February 2, 2020 Our Ground Hog Day or Palindrome Day Hike at The Indiana Dunes National Park

It's Ground Hog Day and Palindrome Day...02/02/2020...reads the same forward and backwards. Truthfully, I didn't realize it was anything but another Sunday morning when the dogs woke me up. I decided to see if Central Beach or Mt. Baldy's beach was accessible. The Great Marsh was looking beautiful this sunny morning as we drove past it on our way to Central Beach..

The sun hasn't been out like this for almost two weeks. I was singing "Stairway to Heaven" as we walked up this. The dogs pretty much ignored me.
"There's a feeling I get
When I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen
Rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who standing looking
Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, it really makes me wonder
And it's whispered that soon, If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter"

Nola & Yeti were very happy to be outside on a hike this morning. 

I was thrilled to see blue skies.

All the dunes along the main trail to the beach have been closed to hiking for years now.

I talked with two women who told me there was no way to access the beach here or at Mount Baldy.
From this vantage point, the lake looks relatively calm. 

But the storms of the past month have done enough damage to still limit beach access. The NPS usually doesn't try to keep a nice slope down the dune to the beach during the winter months. There is currently about a 25 foot straight down drop to the beach.

Also, there is no beach today. The water line is up to the shelf ice which has been pushed up against the dunes.

Sand, ice & water.

This is looking straight down where we are standing. Tree trunks, rocks and ice all crashed together on the beach.
Looking east there is shelf ice along the shore where the sun doesn't shine this time of year.
I left here and drove to nearby Beverly Shores to visit with my friends Roger and Irene. They had just moved to a new place about 100 feet from their old place. They are always gracious hosts whenever anyone stops by. It was great to see both of them and catch up on how they have been since I last saw them. Since they live a block away from Lake View beach, I usually would take the dogs there. But the NPS has closed that beach due to the severe erosion. So I stopped at Dunbar Beach, but I was told there is a fifteen foot cliff to get down to the beach. So I parked at Kemil Beach and walked the dogs down to the beach. 
Here at Kemil we could walk right onto the beach.

Since we walked west the last time we were here...

...We walked east toward Dunbar Beach today. There is still shelf ice along this section of the beach. As you can see, it is a beautiful morning for a walk on the beach.

The dogs zigzagged from the water, to the ice, to the wet sand and the dry sand.

Looking back toward Kemil Beach.

Yeti enjoying our hike while walking on the sand covered ice.

Of course my brilliant dogs decide to walk through the muddy section of the beach.

There was a lot of ice on the shoreline.

Yeti posing for me on the ice. His brown fur looks much darker in the sun and snow than it does everywhere else.

My little girl Nola having fun on the beach.

We continued hiking east.

Just like all the other beaches around here, the first dune along the beach has been breached and flattened.

This rocky section of beach at Dunbar has withstood the damaging onslaught from Lake Michigan... 

...until the recent storms. There isn't as much beach here and the dunes are eroded and are now more like cliffs.

I liked the sand and rock covered snow and ice shapes here.

That is about a 25 foot high wall of sand to our right.

Then it drops down to about five feet near this 1933 Century of Progress House. The erosion uncovered an old wooden staircase (seen in this picture) at the bottom of the dunes

We continued eastward toward Lake View Beach.

But turned around because I didn't want to cross the wider than usual street drainage into the lake. I did see a truckload or two of sand was dumped on the beach on  Lake View Beach.

So we headed back on the lake side of the shelf ice.

Nola always explores places she can stick her head into.

While Yeti loves standing up to get a better view.

The water has been under cutting the shelf ice. 

I am fascinated by how thick the shelf ice is because it's been a mild winter so far.

Nola and Yeti on a stranded iceberg. 

We left the ice behind...

...and hiked up the dunes to the Lake Front Drive. Then walked past some abandoned houses to the trail through the woods that ends at the Kemil Beach parking lot.

Our hike through the woods was enjoyed by all of us.

I liked this shot due to the colors...

...but the B&W version looks more menacing.

I know it looks like Yeti is pooping on Nola. He isn't. But it made me laugh so I added it to my story anyway.

So this concludes our day at the beach story. If you 'd like to join us on one of our trips outdoors, please contact me any time. The only thing better than hiking, is hiking with more people.