Submitted by: Nichole Sheaffer
For the traveler, one could spend a solid week exploring new trails, brew pubs, and coffee shops along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. For the local, especially in the midst of winter, we have to step outside of the box a little bit and explore new air and routes we wouldn’t normally flock to during those sunny t-shirt wearing days of early summer or early fall. Give this trail a shot. Make it a ‘peak to shore’ or ‘peak to loop’. These views and elements will give your brain a breath of perspective you may have been longing for all day.
Start out by entering the Dune Ridge trailhead on the south east part of the parking lot for Kemil Beach [East State Park Road (300E), Beverly Shores, IN 46301]. March straight on through the wooden markers to the trail. Continue up up and forward as you make your way through the soft trail bed until you reach the smaller peak and horizon opening as you get a glimpse of the view that lies ahead. Be certain to wear sturdy shoes to carry that beating heart even further up the ridge as your altitude moves toward an almost 100 ft ascent in about .25 mile (don’t worry the view is worth it on ANY day) . Once you’ve made it to the highest point the air around you seems to expand as you search around for different angles of view from either side of the trail. Take your time to soak it all in!
Done with your break yet? As you get your bootie going forward on the trail now it’s time for a downward haul (which can be slick in icy conditions). Once you make it to the bottom you’ll come to a “T” in the trail. Heading left takes you a short walk back to the car [when time is crunched] and taking a right continues the adventure. As you head out on this route there are a variety of old roads and trails that intertwine with one another. Explore, or take the route to the shore [which I have mapped out through gaia.com and attached at the bottom]. Each day offers something new to discover so keep your ears open and your wandering eye out for birds, deer, busy squirrels, fungi, or flora still lining up their chlorophyll through the winter ground.
Carrying on through the trail and climbing up over branches, you’ll begin to hear the waves crash along the shore (even on a breezy day). You’ll then know you’re close and ready for your shoreline view. Everyday offers a new perspective, different clouds, colors, and wave depth fills the horizon. What does your view look like? Take a shot and tag your experience with us! (#digthedunes) While taking moments on the sandy shores take note of the diversity that exists within the Dunes. While all is considered at rest in the winter time, we find there are still some seasonal insomniacs that are wandering through the woods.
Ready to head back? You could continue from whence you came or head south along the shore to reach the Kemil beach entrance, this takes you back via sidewalk along the road to the parking lot where you started. If your route is short or your route is long, the Dune Ridge Trail offers for a great reset and a chance to become more connected with where on earth we live.
For mapping information check out Gaia’s GPS cellular application that tracks your route (available for most operating systems) which functions while in airplane mode, and allows for landmarked photography noted with date time and GPS coordinates.
Thanks for reading, I can’t wait to see what comes of your journey into the Dunes.
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