Saturday, November 16, 2019

November 16, 2019 The Portage Lakefront & Riverwalk

After seeing the damage caused by storms here in the past two weeks, I decided to bring the dogs to the Portage Lakefront & Riverwalk section of the Indiana Dunes National Park. This little park used to be the dumping area for the steel company across Burns Waterway. Now it is a brownfield success story that became the newest area of the Indiana Dunes National Park in 2008.

We parked by the pavilion and walked along the dunes side path. The rising lake levels combined with the storm surge last week caused a breach in the dunes for the first time. This area is usually just wet after heavy rains or snow melt.
Since winter has already arrived, I can't use my "winter is coming" comment. But the nice thing about having 30 MPH winds on an 8 degree day in November is that when it gets to 40 degrees and sunshine, it feels wonderfully warm.

It's true...if your not the lead dog...the view never changes.

I truly love walking through the dunes on sunny days.

My hiking partners checking out Burns Waterway and the steel mill across the water.

Nola gets distracted easily.

So this is the riverwalk. It has a sand dune on the left and a steel mill on the right. This might seem strange but for Northwest is perfect.

As you walk toward the protected harbor, there is a more natural landscape.

This view is from another boardwalk on Burns Waterway. This is the ice covered shoreline below the parking lot.

The view across the harbor with the breakwall in the distance. The lake is really calm today.

This is the area that suffered the most damage in the past week or so. As the dunes to the left of here collapsed the concrete overlook fell into the lake. You can see the debris sitting offshore in the water. There is no longer access to the beach area. But since there is hardly any beach left, I guess the lack of access isn't that big of a problem.

The NPS blocked off access to the breakwall too.

The storm surge rose up this dune. There is still ice about 15 - 30 feet above the water line here.

Winter can be devastatingly beautiful to me. 

Looking northwest past the breakwall at Lake Michigan.

I really enjoyed meeting the couple in this photo. We had a wonderful conversation about dogs, winter, the dunes, the steel mills and the history of this area. I always seem to run into interesting people on my hikes.

The view from the pavilion of the ice covered trees and breakwall. 

Yes it is.

The dunes side of the pavilion with the sun shining on the ice.

I couldn't decide which shot looked better. At first I didn't like the bright sun section of the first photo, but the longer I looked at it the more I liked it. In the end I liked both photos. The NPS is strapped for cash so I have no idea if this will get rebuilt. I love all these great outdoor places that I visit. I wish we lived in a world where more importance was placed on protecting our natural areas than trying to exploit them for short term profits. That would be a better world in my opinion.

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