Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 1st Dunes Hike/Snowshoe

I had a quiet New Years Eve visiting with a couple of friends. We watched the chamber's fireworks in a London-Like fog from east of town around a mile. When the fireworks exploded, they illuminated the fog bank to make them look more like explosions. The red fireworks were especially effective creating a carnelian red glow.

Since UofM played at 1:30 this afternoon, training partner Wendy and I headed up into the dunes around mid-morning. I'm not sure why I moved the time up since the football game was not fun to watch.

It was a bit colder today when we started with temperatures in the low 30s. With the thaw, we were able to drive all the way to Sable Lake. From there we headed up the first dune located just west of Sable River. We followed the river for quite a ways and decided to climb up a tall dune. Since we ware walking in the woods and on the southeast side of the dunes, we didn't notice the ferocity of the wind until we reached the top ridge of the high dune. Oh my gosh! I will never forget that 200 foot walk along that ridge. From the west the wind was blowing at least 40mph with gusts that must have been closer to 60 or 70mph. The ridge was not wide so there was not much opportunity to position my body to stay clear of the sand-blasting wind -- especially with snowshoes on. I tried to hold my gloved hand up to protect my face, but it took planting both ski poles on the right side of the ridge to not be blown off. In fact the wind was so fierce that we noticed later that it flapped the fabric on my backpack so violently, that it actually unzipped two zippers on my backpack! We were thinking about circling back through the dunes to our car at Sable Lake. Instead, we decided it was safer to head down off the ridge and snowshoe over to the footbridge by Sable Falls and back the trail along the river. That 200 foot walk fighting the intensifying winter elements is something I will never forget. What a way to spend part of New Years Day!

As we descended off the windy ridge, we spotted a freighter out in the lake.

These next four shots show how much the snow has melted up in the dunes. A few days ago there was almost no sand showing up in the open areas. The only snow now is in the valleys between dunes as well as in the forests.

Here is a close up of some of the ice clinging to shore along the river.

Out in the dunes we saw several moose tracks as well as some moose scat. You can tell from the ski pole how big the moose tracks are.

While snowshoeing over one of the foot bridges, these tracks were on the ice under the bridge.

No comments:

Post a Comment