As we drew closer to Lake Michigan, we planned out a route following the narrow ridges of the dunes. The ridge meandered through and above forests and ponds, prairie and sand all the way to Lake Michigan. From this perspective, we could see how stands of trees took root in only certain dune valleys, while just across the dune, nothing took hold.
Some of the different environments were clearly evident from the ridge. Vast areas of sand, grassy prairie and conifer stands were just some of the areas we encountered on this hike. Closer to the lake, the ridge as high enough to see over the adjacent conifer forest. Distant dunes along the Lake Michigan shore appeared like distant mountain ranges due to their sand, forest, and snow patches.
Following a hike of over two hours, we reached Lake Michigan and the Silver Lake State Park foredunes along the shore. Blowouts and ponds dotted the landscape, as we followed the shoreline south for about a half mile. Not a single person was visible from this point, probably kept away by the 30 degree temperature and 30 mile per hour winds.
We pushed south, looking for another dune ridge we spotted in the distance on our trek to the lake. This ridge cut through a large conifer stand, and lead to a huge, open area of sand, and the living dunes which spill into Silver Lake. Our hike was half over.
Posted by Tom Gill at Thursday, April 21, 2016