A half mile or so into our hike across the barren dunes of Silver Lake State Park, we encountered one of many stands of conifers. Situated in a dune valley, the stand was an island of green surrounded by empty sand- an oasis. Dense stands of Jack pine and grasses made our hike a little more difficult, a stark contrast to the rolling sand dunes just a few yards away.
These valleys harbor water and vegetation, creating micro environments within the park. We came upon several interdunal ponds (ponds between dunes) with clear evidence of deer and other wildlife. A sleeping area for deer was the perfect spot for a view of the pond, which was greening up from a long winter.
Seen from a dune ridge, the conifer stand and interdunal ponds appear as an island within the vast expanse of the dunes.One encounters so many different types of environments on a hike here. The landscape often appears so different than Michigan.
We were almost half way from the trail head to Lake Michigan at this point, with much more to see.
Posted by Tom Gill at Friday, April 15, 2016