Teens getting out: Dune Ridge Trail
Story by: Rachael Hennessey, photos by Brian Saavedra
Although Rachael and Brian have had a busy summer, last weekend they managed to get out to Dune Ridge Trail. After an unexpected wrong turn they hit some unchartered territory, but had fun nonetheless! Read about their (mis)adventure here…
Dune Ridge Trail can be found on East State Park Rd. in Beverly Shores, Indiana. It is one of the most botanically diverse trails out of all that make up the National Parks. Out of over 400 National Park areas, this trail ranks seventh! It has a lot to offer in a short distance.
A twenty minute drive from Michigan City brought us there. After parking in front of an extremely steep dune, I felt nervous about the hike ahead. Although, if desired, you can steer clear of the dunes and simply take a leisurely stroll along the trail. This is definitely for those who are looking to get out for a breath of fresh air, yet are not too keen on climbing.
Walking to the other side of the parking lot, you’ll meet these posts and begin your .75 mile journey. A short distance, but full of plenty of scenery, beach sand, and a few other surprises. I spotted six greenstriped lizards running through the sand before I entered the forest area. Certainly something I’m not used to finding, as the most interesting amphibians I find around the area I live are toads.
The trail opens up to quite a few benches that sit in front of a cluster of trees. While I have yet to discover what purpose they serve or why they are there, it was an interesting find. It would be nice if a large group decided to take on the trail together and wanted a place to sit down and soak in the nature and listen to the birds, because there are plenty of them!
The trail then splits, and we took the right side where we found taller grass and a myriad of bugs. The man made path becomes one that is slowly being overcome by Mother Nature in the best ways. Although, there are rocks so it is possible to follow. A quick note: if you are easily bothered by bugs, have bug spray ready to go at this point. With the bugs aside, there are plenty of flowers to be found along the edges, some of which I had never seen before.
After a half an hour of walking, I realized that we may be lost. Definitely make sure you check out the map a few minutes longer at the beginning so you know the right turns to make! Along the path we were heading, we spotted an abandoned house and knew we must have been lost. Before turning on a GPS in order to find our way back to the beginning, we did spot several large, fallen trees. On most trails, you see those all throughout, but these were the first that I spotted, and they were all bunched together.
Eventually we found our way out to a road with a dead end sign and small hill of dirt next to it. We stepped over the hill and found an old, rundown road on the other side. On each side of the road sits bog water with yelling frogs. This alone added another half a mile to our original less-than-a-mile trek, but it was an interesting find. Sometimes getting lost is not so bad as long as you make the most of it!
We followed a road straight back to the parking lot. Our what should have been ten minute walk quickly became an hour of wandering around, trying to find our way back. While I may have enjoyed it, I advise anyone who travels to this trail to make the right turns in the right places. Also, because the trek lasted quite a long time, we were tired out and did not take a journey up the tall sand dune that leads to Kemil Beach. If you’re feeling adventurous, go for it! I’m sure the view alone would be worth it.