Thursday, December 13, 2012

Beautiful but cold Dunes Hike -- Post 1

In Grand Marais we have not seen much of the sun as of late.  So after working most of the day I ran some errands and headed up into the dunes.  Although the roads are snow covered, I decided to drive west of town to access the dunes.  We are supposed to get snow this weekend, so the number of days that the unplowed roads are open for automobile traffic are numbered.

First, I checked out Sable Lake.  The main body of the lake is still ice free.

There is some shore ice, and as you can see below, the shallow lagoons are now frozen over.

I parked in the snow on the pull out at the Massee trail head.  I walked down the trail toward the Log Slide.

I wasn't five minutes down the trail when I decided to bushwhack it up the dune.  When I was half way up this 300 foot verticly steep dune, I realized that the many weeks of sitting and working on my computer have taken their toll. But, I carefully pulled myself up by grabbing trees, traversing back and forth, and using my ski poles.  It was slippery and certainly was a challenge.

Interesting fungi along the way.  You know when you are tired, there always seems to be something worth stopping for.  I can get a few good photos and rest at the same time.....

Half way there.....


The perspective is weird in the picture below.  Am I high above a forest on top of a big dune looking down?  No, this is a picture of equisetum horsetail stalks sticking up above the snow.

A close up of the horsetaiil stalks, mixed in with some other forest dwellers.

Below is what this ancient plant looks like.  Relatives of this species first appeared more than 300 million years ago.  Equisetums are found today on all continents except for Antartica.

Finally, I reached the dune above the forest.

Then I headed into the dunes just a bit.  The wind was blowing and I am not yet acclimated to winter, so I decided to not hike for more than an hour. 

To be continued tomorrow.....

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