Indiana Dunes State Park Hike

  • November 3, 2012 · 10:00 AM
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LOOKS LIKE IDEAL HIKING WEATHER WILL GRACE US TOMORROW! As of 4:30pm, 11/02/12, the forecast calls for crisp, fall hiking weather with only a 10% chance of rain, temps of 47/36F, a NE wind @ 9mph, and now partly sunny skies! I am not going to update the weather again unless Mother Nature decides to make us all Puddle Jumpers tomorrow and the skies are forecasted to open up, in which case I will cancel this hike by 6am.  Check the weather forecast here: www.weather.com/weather/weekend/Chesterton+IN+46304:4:US

*I sent an email to all participants asking if they are arriving via train and I received no affirmative responses, so we are meeting directly at the Nature Center and beginning the hike at 10am SHARP.*

Here is a state park brochure with grounds map: http://www.in.gov/dnr/files/dunes_trail.pdf After entering the park gate and paying the entry fee ($10/vehicle for out-of-state plates and $5/vehicle for IN plates) simply stay to the right (hanging a left at the turnabout will head you toward the lake, so stay to the right) and proceed past the campgrounds, which you will pass on your left as you proceed east toward the Nature Center. You will soon see the Nature Center sign on your left and take a left-hand turn into the parking lot. Please note that North 25E is the same street as Route 49N, so everyone will ultimately proceed on 49N into the park's entrance from whatever travel route is being taken. I am still hosting this hike in the event of intermittent rain without lightning but will cancel in the event of steady or heavy rain. Sandy's fallout has begun to abate as of Wednesday, so marine conditions Saturday will no longer be dangerous along Lake Michigan's shoreline.

For those who haven't been to the IN Dunes, check out our Nomads hikes earlier in the year.  I hosted this one in February: http://www.meetup.com/WanderingNomads/events/51424382/  and then the following month, Mark Simunic led us through this gem of a place yet again: http://www.meetup.com/WanderingNomads/events/

I contacted the state park and was told that normally the drinking fountains throughout the park (to include the campgrounds) are turned off after Halloween unless the temperature is unseasonably warm, in which case they might be on for our hike, but so far, the weather calls for a bit unseasonably colder temps Nov. 3rd.  So, it's best to assume they will be off and to bring enough water for a 3 - 4 hour hike as the only place to get potable water for certain is inside the Nature Center (it's best to be self-sufficient for a hike, anyway, and bring on you what you need, even if there is water available elsewhere).

The Beachhouse/Pavilion concession stand, which serves fast food, is only open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, so the only place to get food in the park is the campstore which will be open for its final weekend the 3rd-4th.  They will have some small hot and cold items: hot water, hot cocoa, hot dogs, chili, and ice cream, as well as packaged snack food. Best to have on you what you want to eat as a mid-day snack if you don't care to purchase food at the campstore. Hot water and hot cocoa is always available while coffee is a hit 'n' miss as many times in cooler months I have found it to not be available; however, I was advised by a park representative it should be available this weekend at the campstore.  What I do is bring instant coffee (Starbucks Via is my favorite) and mix it in the campstore's hot water if no coffee is available. The best bet for coffee is downtown Chesterton, where shopping malls with diners, delis, fast food joints and a few nicer restaurants are located to both the east and west of Indian Boundary Road; head out of the park on 49S and in about 2.5 miles you'll hit Indian Boundary.  Hanging a right at Indian Boundary will get you to McDonald's where there is free Wi-Fi.  There is not a Starbucks or Panera in Chesterton, but there is a Starbucks located off I-94 at the 249/Crisman Road North exit at 6295 Ameriplex Dr., Suite 101, Portage, IN.  The Red Cup Cafe and Deli, located at 115 Broadway, Chesterton, IN, also has free Wi-Fi and is, in my opinion, the best place for coffee in Chesterton, serving Green Mountain:

http://www.redcupcafeanddeli.com/ 

I recommend you peruse the official IN DNR website: http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2980.htm where most if not all of your questions will likely be answered (a printable brochure with trail map is available here).  If you find you still have any questions, email me or post to the event board.

Also peruse the information from February's hike of this year as it includes general food/drink and clothing recommendations (when to add additional garment layers): http://www.meetup.com/WanderingNomads/events/51424382/ Don't forget sunscreen for any exposed areas in the highest SPF you can find if it's not overcast; ultraviolet light damage can occur year-'round.

For full train information, consult the NICTD official website: http://www.nictd.com/

Our post-hike recovery meal will be at Wagner's in adjacent Porter, IN: http://wagnersrestaurantandbar.com/

The route will depend upon participant preference to a great degree (while still beginning easy and getting more diffficult as we get warmed up), as well as the weather, so it will be a play-by-ear thing. However, it will not exceed approximately ten miles and have an option to shorten. If it's rather mild, sunny and not terribly windy, we will spend as much time as possible on the beach; otherwise, we will take full advantage of the tree and dune cover. Either way, we will end up on the beach at some point.

Fun guaranteed. Tree climbing optional. But anyone who climbs a tree with me is guaranteed to leave feeling like a kid and smiling huge, and that sounds pretty fun, now doesn't it? :-)

Stay tuned...

Your Happy Hosts Connie and Kristen

" The Indiana Dunes are to the Midwest what the Grand Canyon is to Arizona and Yosemite is to California." ~ Carl Sandburg

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Huge thanks to Kristen for helping me host and a heartfelt thanks to everyone who came to enjoy an enchanting place that Carl Sandburg said [is] to the Midwest what the Grand Canyon is to Arizona and Yosemite is to California. Yes, it was unseasonably cold with overcast skies but that made the challenging climbs onto the Ridge (trail 9) past Beachhouse and Furnessville Blowouts welcome work as they warmed us up by the time we hit the beach to skip a few stones & comb for rocks & artifacts. To boot, the sun came out to greet us. After returning to the Nature Center via the beach trailhead 4 connector to 7, hikers could opt-out of the last leg up trail 8 to visit the state park's 3 highest dunes: Mt. Jackson (176'), Mt. Holden (184') and Mt. Tom (192'), after which we returned to the Nature Center via trail 4's spill into the campgrounds. Most continued on and did so in grand fashion as everyone finished atop Mt. Tom, even the first-timers! Total mileage approx. 7.5. Thanks everyone!

    November 5, 2012

  • Frank Smolen

    Great place to hike, the loose sand was a bit of problem on the uphill climbs.

    November 4, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Absolutely wonderful! My first hike ever and certainly not my last! Connie and Kristen were exceptional leaders and very much cared that each of us was safe and happy!

    November 3, 2012

  • Kathy

    Our organizer Connie was great and the group was fun and interesting.

    November 3, 2012

  • Raman

    This was a beautiful hike with great company. Connie was a surpassingly caring and enthusiastic organizer and even gave me a ride when the transportation situation changed. Thanks very, very much!!

    November 3, 2012

  • Anthony

    Perfect plan with the option to do the three dunes. I had a great time. Thanx Connie.

    November 3, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Yay Penny my fellow Puddlejumper is going!! No puddles to jump through, though...we'll just have to kick up some dirt 'n' sand, girl! Can't wait to see you (and everyone) tomorrow! This is going to be so much fun! :-)

    November 2, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Nedime...shoot Kathy in University Village an email to make carpooling arrangements; I sent you her email addy. Looking so forward to seeing you again!!! :-)

    November 2, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I sent out a final logistics update to all "Yes" RSVPs this evening to inform everyone attending that since no one is arriving via train, we are now meeting directly at the Nature Center and begining the hike at 10am SHARP. Arrive early to get your gear ready because the train is leaving on time. ;) I will send out one final email tomorrow night with my cell number so you can communicate with me Saturday.

    November 1, 2012

  • Leslie

    I am on south side around 103rd street and wondering if there is anyone to car pool with.

    October 18, 2012

    • sandra v

      I am on 111th. Let me know if you'd like to carpool with me Leslie.

      October 28, 2012

    • Leslie

      Thanks that will be great.

      October 31, 2012

  • Kathy

    If anyone is leaving from Chicago or would like to drive along with me, I live in Univeristy Village--Please let me know.

    Kathy

    October 28, 2012

  • Anthony

    Glad to see you back Connie. Will the hills be at the beginning or end of the hike?

    October 15, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Anthony, et al., one more thing I failed to mention when I responded to you on October 16th...the dunes will never be at the beginning of the hike as people won't be sufficiently warmed up yet for the challenge. They will be approximately 3/4 of the way through the hike. Actual route, however, will be devised that morning based upon the weather. But we will sample a bit of all the dunes has to offer so there is something for everyone.

      October 26, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      And what I am talking about when I say "the dunes" will not be at the beginning of the hike is the state park's three highest dunes on trail 8...not other sections of the park, as there are dunes, blowouts, ravines, etc., throughout the park.

      October 26, 2012

  • Kathy

    Are u going to climb any trees??? lol

    October 17, 2012

    • Kathy

      might climb with u!

      October 19, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Now this I gotta see. You will make my day if you climb. No wait - year. :-)

      October 26, 2012

  • Darlene

    I will park and wait at the Nature Center

    October 21, 2012

  • Kathy

    ty for starting at nature center con!

    October 19, 2012

  • Kathy

    Thinking of bringing Shasta, are dogs okay? Would drop him home before Wagners,

    October 17, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Uhhhh...make that "in the control of their humans at all times" and not the other way around. But who are we kidding, really? ;)

      1 · October 18, 2012

    • Kathy

      Yep, my Berners wear the pants in our family,lol,just glad they let me live in theirhouse! :)

      October 19, 2012

  • John

    Sounds great, Connie! Haven't been there in awhile. I missed your last one. Looks like mine is rain this Sunday. I might bite the bullet and do it anyway. That's what they make rain gear for, right? I just hate the lime cinder streak up the back from the tires :(

    October 13, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      I so hope you can come, John. The dunes are so beautiful... Sorry you had to cancel your bike ride; hopefully you can reschedule it. :-)

      October 15, 2012

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