Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another Dune Hike

After almost a week of rain, we finally had a nice sunny weekend in Grand Marais. The rain we have had has certainly helped out the vegetation. Even walking down an established path was a challenge due to the almost overgrown condition.

I took advantage of the weather and had an epic hike in the dunes. While hiking near the bluff of the Grand Sable banks, I walked up a valley between dunes through a gravel bed. I spotted two dreikanters.

Dreikanters are naturally formed rocks that usually have three edges and three facets formed by the sand-blasting effect of wind abrasion caused by blowing sediments. Conditions of formation seem to require regions having scanty vegetation, strong winds, and sand and pebbles as a common surface cover. They occur in many parts of the Arctic, particularly in periglacial regions. As such they are used as tentative indicators of past conditions, both climatic and geological. In the case of the dreikanters I found in the dunes, they were either formed during the glacial periods, or simply while the stones survived in the dunes over the last several thousand years. In both cases, the orientation of the apex of the rocks' peaks faced northwest, which is the predominant direction of our winds during storms.

There seemed to be more wild flowers along the trail leading into the dunes, as well as in the dunes. Since I hiked a slightly different angle once I got up into the dunes, I found new ghost forest trees as well as a new telegraph pole that was almost covered by blowing sand.

I was so hot after being in the dunes for four hours, I went and sat next to Sable Lake at the boat ramp for a while, until the bugs drove me off.

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