I don’t get to do this every Friday but when I can I try to move my work schedule around to make it a Dunes Hike Day. As soon as I drop J off at school I head north. This time of year I’m getting there as the sun is rising over the dunes. If I hurry I can get to the beach in time to see the sun just peeking over the tops of the trees.
The weather is ridiculous today – 60 degrees at 7am in November – and tomorrow some sort of wintry precipitation is supposed to fall from the sky. I seized the day and headed out to one of the longer hikes I like to do: Cowles Bog Trail. Depending on which sets of trails I choose, and how long I meander on the beach, it works out to be a 5 mile loop. There are few things in life that make me as happy as hiking rolling hills with fallen leaves underfoot, scrambling up & down dunes, pausing at the shores of Lake Michigan to take some deep breaths of Lake air before heading back. It’s…. well…. here’s what it’s like…
Start in the woods and this time of year the trail is carpeted with crunchy, fallen leaves.
After some rolling hills and climbs you are rewarded with this view.
Bound down the dune and make your way out to the Lake. Today the wind is out of the south so the water is like glass. Last week it was out of the north and the waves were taller than my head. That’s one of the beauties of hiking along the Great Lakes, it’s different every time. (And yes, this is right here in Indiana.)
Wander down the beach a quarter mile or so to pick up the trail loop back. Be sure to take one last look at that beautiful lakeshore.
The hardest part of the hike is ahead of you: a steep, scrambling climb up the dune.
Back across the bog from which the trail gets its name. Listen to the frogs. Watch out for snakes (I almost always see some small ones – I did today.)
Get back in the car and begin planning the next time you can get out to the Lake. I had a conference call immediately after my hike. One of the people said “I hope everyone gets some time to enjoy this unusually warm weather before it shifts.” I smiled knowing that I had already done just that.