Lucas had the day off of school when I drove over to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, so I took him along for the ride. The shelf ice goes out pretty far now, but we could still hear the icy open water lapping at the far edge.
Ice is good for the lake because it slows down evaporation in the early spring.
Snow on the dunes can take interesting forms as the blowing sand covers, shapes, then moves off to reveal miniature snow sculptures.
I mentioned in my previous post that this area has incredible biodiversity and some habitats not found anywhere else on the planet. There are arctic and desert plants growing side by side here, trees normally found in the south grow on one dune, and trees normally found further north on the next. There are endangered plants and insects here.
A preserved specimen of the endangered Karner blue butterfly sits on wild lupine flowers in the photo to the left. The numbers of Karner blues are dwindling due to loss of habitat. The wild lupine flourishes in areas post-burn, and as parks have tried to suppress the natural cycle of fires, they have reduced the available area for the lupine to thrive.
Rangers are trying to reverse this by doing controlled burns in the park.
The next time you're driving around the bottom of Lake Michigan, take some time to explore the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. It's your park.