HIKING MT. BALDY TRAIL Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana

Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller

Date: August 2, 2021

This National Park has 15 miles of lakeshore beaches, hiking trails over rugged dunes, mysterious wetlands, sunny prairies, meandering rivers and peaceful forest. We hiked up the 145 foot tall closed dune trail that can only be hiked with a ranger once a day. The dune is considered dangerous due to many hidden sink holes discovered after a 12 year old boy got buried 13 feet deep in the sand ten years ago.  Milkweed plants lined the base of the trail with a few feeding butterflies. The ranger told us that sadly, the monarch butterfly population has dropped 90%. The sandy trail was tree covered until the summit and was a difficult climb. With the heat, humidity and me having to wear long sleeves and long pants, I was really breathing heavy even though my recovering lungs had improved. Mt. Baldy has an active moving dune, the largest “living” dune in the park that moves inland about four feet per year burying everything in its path including trees and will eventually consume the parking lot and restrooms. On the beach side it was eroding and many 1960’s artifacts (cans, bottles etc.) are found. Special marram grass has been planted on the slopes and summit to grow, spread and stop the dune erosion.

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