Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dunes High Point Hike

I would like to start this blog posting with a request. Probably without thinking, at least two four wheeler drivers went up into the dunes from Sable Lake. PLEASE -- DO NOT DRIVE IN THE DUNES. Not only is this against park policy, but it is illegal for a reason. The dunes ecosystem is very fragile. It takes years for an area damaged from the tire tracks to recover. It is also very dangerous. What looks like a fun dune ridge to jump from one side, may be a 100 foot sheer drop on the other side. Please respect and help to protect this beautiful and delicate area. By the way, the four wheelers in the picture were just driving east on H58 along Sable Lake when I snapped the picture.

I headed straight north into the dunes and then veered to the northwest. I decided that I wanted to get some vigorous exercise and hike up to the highest dunes. I just love walking by some of the transition zones where forest meets dunes.

A week or so ago we had the severe thunderstorms. Since then I've noticed these patterns down the faces of the steepest dunes. They appear to have been formed by runoff.

Here is a shot of a fairly big gravel bed -- right in the middle of the dunes.

Every day there is something else blooming.

The view from the highest point in the Grand Sable Dunes is incredible. The second picture below was taken looking east-northeast from where I was standing. I've labelled where the breakwater lighthouse, First Creek mound, and Grand Marais bay can be seen in the photo.

Although the vistas in this area of the dunes are among my favorite, you have to keep watch for the little micro-scenes.

I think this is some type of weird fungus. There were several of them growing in clumps. If I didn't know better, I would say they were growing out of cow "patties." Maybe they were growing out of deer scat.

Maybe this scene from up in the dunes is a hidden pond? But then again maybe it is a small section of the northeast corner of the lake, shown from an interesting angle.

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