Submitted by: Stephen Lehman
For the busy adventurer Location: https://goo.gl/maps/jYDudq8cAQk Cost: Free Hours: Always open What to expect: beach, beautiful sunsets
Ever since I moved here, Stop 2 has been a place that I frequent. If you’re not familiar with the “Stop” system, allow me to explain. Starting just east of Washington Park in Michigan City, the “Stops” start with 1 and consecutively go all the way to 42 1/2 just inside the Michigan border. Many of the “Stops” are hard to access, however a handful are open to the public. There is a parking lot at Stop 2 that requires a parking sticker or day pass which can be purchased at the Washington Park gate. These fees are only applicable starting mid-May through early September. During the off-season, anyone can park at Stop 2. Near the parking lot, you can clearly see a trail leading to the beach. The trail opens up into a beautiful scene.
Thankfully, the day I ventured out, I made it during golden hour. The golden beach grass seems to come alive, especially when the wind is blowing. It almost seems to be moving as one single entity. On this day in particular, the shelf ice was just beginning to form. Minus the lack of clouds in the sky, everything seemed to be perfect. I walked down to the shoreline to see the infant shelf ice. I was met with another magnificent sight.
The shelf ice was half over the beach and half over the water. Being in its earliest stages, I could see the obvious progression. The waves crash over the beach, mix with snow and sand, forming layer upon layer of shelf ice. The sight was beautiful. It’s sad that so many don’t dare to venture out during the winter months! This experience makes me excited for the reverse effect. When all the shelf ice begins to melt the whole process begins to rewind.
There were a few folks out wandering around the beach that day. If you look really closely at the image above, you can see the couple walking on the beach. The sunset was just gorgeous that evening. Even NIPSCO was looking quite dashing with a little help from the sun. Lake Michigan beaches are transformed in the winter. Most would have a hard time identifying a wintery Lake Michigan beach scene. A lot of times, they would seem almost Arctic like.
I began to make my way west towards the pier in Washington Park and I came across this fence. Dune fencing is used to encourage foredune growth and moderately combats erosion. The rickety nature of the fence coupled with the footprints in the snow helped create the image above. I find it breathtaking at the least.
I couldn’t help but take a classic dune grass and beach shot. It may be a Lake Michigan cliche, but when done right, it really captures the heart of the area. I hope you know that the south shore of Lake Michigan is one of most beautifully unique places on Earth. In March, I am leading a photography hike near Kemil Beach. Snag a ticket and sign up here: Photo Hike. I hope that all of you will at least take advantage of our incredible beaches at least once during the winter season. Just please stay off of the shelf ice.
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