loop hike at West Beach and Ogden Dunes, and dinner at Don Quijote Spanish cafe

we invite you to a day hike at

West Beach and Ogden Dunes

                        in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore                           

Saturday, March 31 starting at 11 AM

length of hike about 6-7 miles,

2-3 steep climbs chances for shortcuts of several lengths

dear hiking friends-- 

We will meet on Saturday at 11:00 at the West Beach Visitor Center (directions below), hike over some dunes and on the shores of Long Lake, have lunch at the Ogden Dunes playground (bring along your Inner Child : )  ), continue on the interesting Solar Trail (arriving from outer space and traveling inward this time) then over a high unnamed dune, reaching the lakefront via the new Portage Riverwalk trail;  at the new Portage Visitor Center, we will find washrooms and drinking water (warning—could still be closed for the winter); after that, we will continue along the lake about 1 1/2 miles, then back over another dune on the Succession trail and back to our cars;  total hike about 6-7 miles, with a couple chances for shortcuts for those wanting a shorter hike.

This hike is the first anniversary with our group for Cyndy, Mary, and Sue C.  we are hiking the same route as we did last year in their honor, and i believe they will all be there.

I'm sorry to say this is not a dog-friendly hike--no dogs allowed on the lakeshore in West Beach or Ogden Dunes.

Be sure to check the weather beforehand, and dress appropriately http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/Beverly+Shores+IN+46301 .  it is often cooler near the lake this time of year, so layered clothing is usually a good idea.   Be sure to bring along a lunch which we will eat on the trail, plus enough water (one quart minimum).  I suggest bringing water from home because there is a chance water will not be available at the Visitor Center 

Afterwards, for those who wish to join us, we dine at Indiana's only Spanish restaurant, Don Quijote in Valparaiso  http://donquijoterestaurantandimports.com/index.html .  If you’re just coming to dinner, our reservation is for 5:30. You are welcome to come for the hike, or dinner, or both, but please let me know if you plan to come to dinner, because I need to make a reservation

a few suggestions to make things run more smoothly

1)      print out the announcement, or at least the directions ahead of time and bring it with you in your car if you are driving or navigating--I have frequently been delayed from arriving on time myself because I'm giving directions over the phone

2)      if you are going to be late, be sure to call [masked].  If you will be a little late, we will usually wait for you.  If you're going to be more than about 15-20 minutes late, I will tell you how to meet us farther down the trail so everyone else doesn't have to wait. 

3)       to make things run more smoothly at dinner, I strongly recommend that you have enough cash to pay the bill.  Some restaurants don't like splitting up credit card charges. 

hope to see you there,

Rick

directions:

from Chicago & north suburbs: (driving time from downtown is about 1 hour) follow I-90 (Kennedy-Dan Ryan) east; at exit 59A, be sure to follow signs to "Chicago Skyway/Indiana Toll road"--the Skyway will turn into the Indiana Toll rd at the state line:  tolls can be paid with I-pass or cash; exit at I-90 exit 17, onto US 12 east, continue on US 12 several miles to County Line rd (flashing red light): turn left, and follow signs to "West Beach"; continue to the Visitor Center and park; the Center may be closed, but the bathrooms (and possibly  drinking fountain) should be open; try to arrive by 11:00; we will wait till 11:30, then depart.

from northwest, west, or south suburbs:  follow I-94 east into Indiana; at exit 12, exit north onto I-65, continue on I-65 north 2 miles till it ends, then take US 12 east, continue on US 12 several miles to County Line rd (flashing red light): turn left, and follow signs to "West Beach"; continue to the Visitor's Center and park; the Center may be closed, but the bathrooms (and possibly  drinking fountain) should be open; try to arrive by 11:00; we will wait till 11:30, then depart.

from Michigan:  follow I-94 west into Indiana; at exit 19, exit north onto IN 249, continue on IN 249  north  to US 12;  turn left (west) onto US 12 and continue on US 12 several miles to County Line rd (flashing red light): turn right, and follow signs to "West Beach"; continue to the Visitor's Center and park; the Center may be closed, but the bathrooms (and possibly  drinking fountain) should be open; try to arrive by 11:00; we will wait till 11:30, then depart.

by the South Shore line: get the South Shore at the Metra Electric stations at Randolph (8:40 AM), Van Buren, Roosevelt rd, Hyde Park, etc; take the train to the Dune Park station; train arrives at 9:54.  You can walk from the train station to the Inland Marsh parking lot, or call me and I will pick you up shortly before 11:00 and take you to the trailhead; see the website below for trains returning to Chicago; you also may be able to get a ride back to the city from someone else.  To walk to the Visitor Center from the train station, take Hillcrest north (away from the tracks) past Diana road; on the left, just before the park, you will see a trail, turn left onto this train, and follow the signs:  the trail will come to Long lake and follow the shore:  continue on the trail thru the gate into the National Lakeshore:  continue to the first trail leading off to the right (the West Beach trail), and turn right (don’t miss it, it enters at a retroflex angle), follow this trail to the Visitor Center parking lot—total distance about 1 ½ miles.

here is the South Shore website:  http://www.nictd.com/

directions from West Beach to Don Quijote:  follow the exit signs to US 12, turn left, continue about 8 miles to IN 49, turn right:  continue on 49 south about 10 miles or so to IN 2 west; IN 2 will turn into LaPorte rd, continue on LaPorte just past Sturdy, then bear right onto Lincolnway; continue a few blocks to Don Quijote at 119 E Lincolnway on the right.  There is a parking lot a bit east (before arriving) of the restaurant.  Our reservation is for 5:30.  I bought a groupon with group funds which we can all use at Don Q—however, that means no one else can use a coupon for this dinner.

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  • Judy

    Another great time! I have never been to the Solar Trail before. Very cool stuff : )

    April 1, 2012

  • Tina L.

    Great! Fred and I enjoy it!

    April 1, 2012

  • Grace H.

    I did not make the hike but met everyone at Don Quijote's. I thorughly enjoy talking to all the people in this group.

    April 1, 2012

  • Cyndy M

    great hike on a day which just got better and better. Terrific group. Have never been let down. Dinner was terrific - lots of options from small tapas to full dinners. The chef sent out a couple pitchers of free sangria!!

    April 1, 2012

  • Mary K.

    Rick's hiking group feels like a 'family' who "likes each other" and has fun. I hope Rick never stops hosting hikes- it was so a wonderful day!

    April 1, 2012

  • Ann N.

    I had a great time on the hike. Everyone in the group was friendly, and we moved along at a nice pace, with frequent rests. The restaurant was way too pricey for my budget.

    April 1, 2012

  • Salma W.

    I had a blast. It was the first time that I dared out with a group of total strangers and still felt like I had known them for ever. Thanks Mike for such a great hike. It was good to meet so many lovely people. The dinner at Don Quijote was good but the best part of it was the company. Looking forward to the next meet.

    March 31, 2012

  • Bob D.

    I'm sore, dirty and again...sore, but with Rick, several new acquaintances, different landscape, a super meal, and a host of great hiking friends, well... the soreness I can endure...the friendship is everlasting. Chalk another 5 plus star hike for Rick.

    March 31, 2012

  • Rick M.

    a nice mix of people, ranging from 2002 veterans, to total newbies, and 3 celebrating their first anniversary hike. a great variety of landscapes too, and a delicious meal from a friendly chef.

    March 31, 2012

  • Rick M.

    they call it the visitor center, but it's basically the parking lot for the beach with some washrooms

    March 30, 2012

  • Sue C.

    is this actually the parking lot to go to the beach at west beach? I dont remember ther being a visitors center there>

    March 25, 2012

  • Rick M.

    i'll work on it

    March 24, 2012

  • Bob D.

    Sounds great!...but only if Rick's feminine side can join as well.

    March 24, 2012

  • Lindsey

    I like an inventive mind. Maybe you can be on the girl's team. ;)

    March 24, 2012

  • Bob D.

    Lynne, I'll shoot a bungee cord over to the city, and with the hour time difference it just might make it!

    March 23, 2012

  • Lindsey

    If anyone is driving from the city and has room, I would love to carpool with you. Please email me. :) (Bob, I would welcome your roof if I weren't out of your way...)

    March 23, 2012

  • Bob D.

    not yet...but there's still time!

    March 22, 2012

  • Cyndy M

    no one on the roof Bob??

    March 22, 2012

  • Bob D.

    Rick, presently it looks like the hike and dinner for me.

    March 22, 2012

  • Bob D.

    If anyone needs a ride from the South Bend area for the Loop Hike, please contact me. I'll even strap people to the roof of the car if need be...

    March 18, 2012

  • Cyndy M

    well I have to go to that!!

    December 5, 2011

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