Dune Shadows

Outrunning a Shadow

To me, one of the most interesting parts of hiking is finding the unexpected.  Whether it's an unexpected view, location, flower, or old piece of machinery, I find it very satisfying to discover something new.

The unexpected can often be something like a cloud, the color in the sky, a shape, or a shadow.  On my latest hike in Warren Dunes State Park, the shadows of objects on the dunes interested me quite a bit.

The shadow of the runner in the image above was stretched by the slope of the sand dune, and distorted to over twice the height of the figure.  As the shadow moved across the dune, it changed size and shape as it encountered the different hills and valleys of the dune.

The Ghost Forest

Another spot creating interesting shadows was at the top of Tower Hill, the tallest dune in the park.  The shifting sand buries trees over time, suffocating them over time until they die.  Their remains cast eerie shadows on the patterned sand.

Above the Treetops

Here, walking above the forest, we can see the process in action. The dune is slowly burying the forest below. In a few hundred years, this living dune will eventually pass over the forest, and the trees will once again become visible, but only as dried remnants of a long time past- when we visited.

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