Color Returns to the Dunes

Lupine in the Woods

Following a colder than usual spring, the colors and flowers are back again along the rolling dunes of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  A large cluster of wild lupines blooms just over the ridge of a wooded dune, just a few yards from Lake Michigan.

The Trail Ahead

Following the path through the woods, we came to a vast open area of Marram Grass dotted with shrubs. The open space, while not filled with blooming flowers, was deep green, with blue Lake Michigan beyond. This open area leads to a very large blowout facing Lake Michigan, which is now off limits to visitors.  A blowout is an area of the dune devoid of vegetation, so it begins to erode, creating a sort of depression in the dune.  These are naturally occurring, and not necessarily created by people walking on the dunes, yet, the park seems to close them all with hopes of stopping the erosion.

A Line of Puccoon

Crossing the backside of the blowout, we headed back toward the beach and Lake Michigan. On the journey, familiar clumps of yellow flowers appeared all over the landscape. These flowers are called Puccoon, and were once used to make dyes by native people of the area. Some varieties have also been used for medicinal purposes.

Most of the flowers of the Indiana Dunes blossom for just a short period of time, so make sure to visit often to see as many as you can.

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