|Total Shots taken||138|
|Number of 5 star ratings (5* yield %)||19 (13.8%)|
First time visitor to the Indiana Dunes National Park and Shoreline! When there is both a national park and a state park for sand dunes 40 minutes from your doorstep – both dedicated to the natural beauty and native landscape of the Lake Michigan shoreline, AND you are a photographer, you just gotta make time for it. So I made it my mission this morning to take the trek, hike the trail from the Paul H. Douglas visitor’s center to the beach and back, camera in hand.
The mostly dirt trail, covered by wood chips in some places, small bridges in others, welcomed me into peaceful forest. The morning quiet, punctuated by the sounds of birds flitting from tree to tree, their chirps adding music to the scene. The trail wound through the tall trees, around ponds, the Grand Calumet River, and several bog areas along the way. The dunes are a protected area – signs warn hikers to stay on the trail, leave no trace behind on the delicate sandy terrain. I found a gnarly walking stick – another hiker there warned me that a some points, I would be very close to the edge, the ground might be moist and soft, and I might need something to hold on to. She was right – the stick helped me keep my balance.
During the hike to the beach, I spotted water lilies, native grasses, wildflowers, birds, and just pretty views in the oak savanna and alongside the river and wetland areas. I don’t think I suffered from not having enough images. Hope you enjoy these 5* images:
- Water Lily – Twice is Nice: The bloom on top, lit by the sun, makes the reflected image seem almost translucent on the bottom. Alike, but different, Mirror, mirror, on the wall, these are the fairest petals of all.
- On Green Pond: The lush greenery of the trees is reflected in this pond near the visitor’s center; the pond is filled with grasses and budding flowers peeking through the surface.
- Peeking Thru – Up Close: These blooms emerged above the water, providing dots of color in an otherwise green and tan landscape. Lily pads dot the water’s surface behind them.
- The Bridge: Even on this somewhat overcast day, the bright green leaves reflect on the Grand Calumet River way, drawing the eyes to the bridge.
- It’s a Dune! The dunes are protected area, and outside of the trails, hikers are asked NOT to walk off the trail when in the fragile habitat. The trail at this point was very close to the edge of the pond – I concentrated heavily, not wanting to slip or fall. I looked up, and saw the cliff of this dune across the river, its reflection in the water’s surface. Snap!
- Early Wild Rose: The forest grounds were accented with these early wild rose flowers. This banded longhorn beetle (and two friends!) found the pollen here irresistible.
I had consulted the map frequently, guessing which faint trail to follow when it wasn’t clear. Even though it took a little longer than projected, I enjoyed my first visit to the Indiana Dunes. Before I returned home, I spoke with the park rangers, to help identify other trails I’d like to hike, so YES, this was a 5* visit! The trail at Cowles Bog is next on my list.
Note: Welcome mural at visitor’s center, artist unknown.
See more outtakes from this and other photography outings by following me on Instagram @eyevpointofview.