Last Monday after I posted my blog about the Dogs of the Dunes, I finished some freelance work and headed out with “my” dog of the dunes for an afternoon hike. We decided to go to the Indiana Dunes State Park and hit Trail 2, a shorter trail, and one that I haven’t done in awhile.
Snow had fallen the night before and the trees and path were beautiful. The creek was frozen and small animal prints were in the snow. My plan was to walk a bit and to try to think of what to write for this week. As I rounded a bend and looked at an open track, it hit me that I should write about how winter in the dunes can be so different than summer in the dunes, but yet just as amazing.
I stopped on the path and stood still. Silence. It’s not often that you hear, well actually, don’t hear — anything. We stood for awhile taking that silence in. Otis’s ears perked and there were the faint sound of birds in the distance, a ruffling of some branches, other than that, there really was nothing.
At that moment I felt like it was just me and Otis. And we had the entire Indiana Dunes State Park to ourselves. How often do you get to think that? Actually, quite often in the winter!
While summer is very beautiful, it is often also bustling with people. Tourists come in, families take vacations, parking lots are filled. Winter is when many people think they should stay indoors. I find that on some of the coldest days I can bundle up, head to the beach and feel extremely invigorated. That crisp, cold air is what makes me feel alive. Add the bright blue cloudless sky and what you have is the perfect beach day.
One of my goals for Dig the Dunes is to get everyone who lives nearby, down to the beach in the middle of winter. The ice shelf is almost gone now, but the beauty that it brings is something you don’t see very often. Add to that the silence of the lake and it’s almost as if you are on another planet. It’s really something every child and adult should experience in their lifetime. And we who live so close, are lucky to be able to experience it all the time!
As the days are now getting longer, and February has arrived, we all are looking forward to that first spring day. But before it comes, promise me that you will open your arms and mind to the dunes in the winter. Get out and ski, skate, sled, run or just walk. Take a hike to the beach to see if the lake is frozen, take a walk in the woods and admire the fresh fallen snow on the path and trees or just step outside and listen to the peace and pure quiet that winter can sometimes bring.
Now my post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t give you some places to go and things to do. Do you like sledding? How about Devil’s Slide at the Indiana Dunes State Park? I’ve already posted about Lycokiwe Trail for skiing, but there is also plenty of skiing at the State Park as well as Tolleston Dunes and Love Creek in Berrien Springs is supposed to be one of the best spots around.
If you’d like to see the lake without getting out of your car, a nice drive is down Kemil Road (off of 12) and looping around the Beverly Shores main road. That is where my favorite photo spot is. See if you can find it! There is also close parking at Portage Riverwalk, Porter Beach, Washington Park in Michigan City and New Buffalo Beach.
After a day out in the cold, what’s better than sitting in a cozy cafe and having a hot chocolate or mocha? Two of my top picks for coffee in the area are Lakeshore Coffee in Michigan City and Red Cup in Chesterton.
Thank you all for reading! It’s been so much fun to write. Remember to subscribe to my feed, share and message me with any content you would like me to cover.
Keep on diggin’ those dunes!
The ice can make amazing formations, like these from last year. (2014)
May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being. May you walk gently through the world and know it’s beauty all the days of your life.
— Apache blessing