Wandering the Region- The Long Lake Loop

Spring is definitely being Spring in northwestern Indiana.  It was nice on Friday. Then, on Saturday I was pelted in the face with giant pellets of frozen rain. It was so windy that I was looking at the trees outside and praying that the large branches would stay attached to them.

By Saturday evening, there was almost an inch of snow on the ground. The roads were very icy and I could tell it was bad just based on how slow the semi’s were going on the toll road. It was a mess that no one appeared to have predicted.

On Sunday morning, I woke to sun and amazing blue skies. It was still very windy, but the temperature was rising. When I left the house it was a warm 45 degrees and by the end of the day it was almost 70.

I had planned on it being warmer on Sunday and was hoping that the forecast wasn’t going to let me down. It certainly didn’t. It was a bright and clear day that was made for hiking. The wind got in my way a little bit, but thankfully I remembered my sunglasses and that helped a lot with the blowing sand.

I ventured down to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. I really like the West Beach area. It has trails for hiking and a  beach on Lake Michigan. I don’t really  come around the area in the summer due to all of the “people traffic” but in the spring, early summer and fall, it’s perfect.

I took the Long Lake Loop for the first time. I hadn’t veered off to follow that trail before in the past.  I usually went up, what I call, the stairs of doom.  For some reason, I didn’t capture a photo of the stairs. Just imagine a staircase that goes on forever up the front side of a sand dune.

image

Standing at the trial head of the Long Lake Loop

Long Lake Loop Trail

Long Lake Loop Trail

The Long Lake Loop trail is just over a mile and a half in length. ( The park offers 3.5 miles of hiking trails total.)  As you walk along the loop trail, it leads you near the shore of Long Lake. It’s a small lake just adjacent to Lake Michigan and is popular for bird watching.  Recently, they conducted the yearly controlled burn and it was interesting to see the vegetation, most notably the cacti, recovering from the burn.

Controlled burn area.

Controlled burn area.

Cacti- controlled burn victims

Cacti- controlled burn victims

It was peaceful. I enjoyed my time just walking along.  I stopped for a little while to enjoy everything around me.

Long Lake

Long Lake

 

Long Lake

Long Lake

It was a great day. I really enjoyed just taking my time and walking the trails.  I’m looking forward to my next visit. I’m glad that I decided to walk along this trail, I think that I will make a point to add it to my visits in the future.

This is also the only trail in this park where you are permitted to have a dog.  Dogs aren’t permitted on the beach and there is a lot of signage to indicate this.  There were a lot of people there who were disregarding the rule, however, I am not one of those people who doesn’t believe the rules do not apply. I hope my readers will also follow the rules.  The dunes are a fragile ecosystem and must be protected.  

Below is a map of the West Beach area courtesy of the National Park Service.

Map of the West Beach area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Map of the West Beach area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

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