A Tale of Two Hiking Trips Part II - Indiana Dunes
As discussed in the last post, I was on the road last weekend to explore more of Indiana's nature. After being at Turkey Run on Saturday, I headed north to lake Michigan on Sunday. Specifally to the Indiana Dunes east of Gary. As on Saturday, I was on the road pretty early and managed to be at West Beach, which is part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, just when the parking lot opened at 8 am. Luckily, that part of Indiana is in a different time zone, making it effectively 9 am for me.
When I arived, the parking lot was completely empty, but soon more people started to arrive. As you would expect on a Sundy with perfect beach weather, it got very crowded as time went by. But I managed to spent some time on the beach almost undisturbed. The beach itself was very beautiful and reminded me very much of the north and baltic sea beaches back home in Germany.
The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore consists of quite a few individual parks. West Beach specifically is located in between Gary and a large steel plant. This results in quite unusual views at the beach.
On the beach itself it got too crowded for my taste pretty soon, so I left to go hiking in the dunes themselves, were there a several very nice trails. Naturally, they consist mostly of sand. Therefore, even if they are not very long, it's still a quite exhausting walk.
The dunes are very beautiful, and having spent a lot of childhood vacation on Germany's North Sea shore and islands, it is a type of landscape that I am quite fond of. (Although the dunes in germany are typically less wooded). However, the hiking itself was less enjoyable than I had hoped for. The temperatures reached 95 degrees and without the cover of the forests as at Turkey Run the day before, there was little to shelter me from the intense sunshine and heat.
So I left West Beach only four hours after arriving there to find some place for lunch and to rehydrate. In the afternoon I drove to another park, located in a marsh and famously home to a lot of birds. I spent only about half an hour there, because even though I managed to get quite a few very nice pictures in that short amount of time, it was simply too hot and humid. So I went back to the car and started the two hour drive back home to West Lafayette.
It was a great weekend and I'm glad I finally visited some of the beautiful spaces around here. Given the extreme weather it was also very exhausting. I haven't been so thouroughly tired in quite a while. But it was totally worth it, and the next step is to get my own car to be able to do this kind of trip more frequently.
As before, a lot more pictures I took are available here: