A couple of weeks ago I had to make a business trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Airfares are crazy right now so the only economical options was for my to fly into Midway Chicago and drive the three hours to Grand Rapids. It’s an easy drive once you leave the city. At the conclusion of my meetings I headed back to Chicago for a flight the following morning. On the way I stopped at Indiana Dunes National Shoreline to pick up a passport stamp.
For you who are uninitiated the National Parks system in the US offers cancellation stamps at hundreds of locations – you stamp your “Passport” with an actual rubber stamp. The sell different types of passports and lots of stickers you can decorate up your passer with at most of these locations. I try to see if any are nearby when I travel and the Indiana Dunes is in a pretty remote location if you are making a road trip to several parks. I actually stopped by on a similar trip back in June, picked up my stamp and braved 50 mile an hour winds to look get to a spot to see the lake. Grey skies and whitecaps, but not much to see that day. Since I had the time I thought I would stop in and get a Stamp for my Sister-in-law’s mother, Kathy – she sends me tons of stamps so I thought I would return the favor, plus if she logs onto Facebook and sees that I was there and didn’t get her a stamp in a remote location, I’ll feel like a heel.
On this day the weather could not have been better. it was about 85 and sunny with just a slight breeze. I picked up a stamp and a map at the ranger station and stopped at the edge of the parking lot to see this guy perched near a stream that ran through the grounds.
As I left the parking lot I headed down highway 12 towards the Beverly Shores Post Office to mail Kathy her stamps on postcards. The Post Office was closed for lunch so I turned towards the shore drive and came upon this beauty. It’s a functional depot for the South Shore Line. Go out the back door and press a button near the tracks and the train will stop right here for you.
Anyway, I dropped off my postcards and headed for the shore, expecting something akin to a large lake. When I saw the color of the water, my jaw dropped!
This stretch of shoreline is a part of the National Parks System and has lots of shower and changing locations within walking distance. I was unfortunately in business attire with only dress shoes so I walked in as little sand as possible. Further east there were private sections of the shore (I almost typed “beach” because that’s what it felt like – a beach) that I could photograph from my rental car, since no parking was allowed.
Beverly Shores and the surrounding area is pretty spectacular. Marshes and field grasses with a mix of wildflowers. Just stunning.
I traveled further east to Mount Baldy. The ranger said that it was a “must-see” and said nothing else about it. Mount Baldy is an enormous moving sand dune – the park is trying desperately to stop its movement, it’s about to engulf a changing station so they have erected fences and are preventing all hiking on the face of the dune since that causes it to slide further. Imagine the height of these trees if they were not being consumed by sand.
On my way out of the park I headed back I that spot that was all grey and whitecaps in June. The city of Gary, Indiana fills the horizon – I think this is probably a pretty attractive view of the city of smokestacks.
Next time I’m packing flip-flops.