Today I decided to venture out to the wilderness end of St. Joseph Peninsula having been issued a wilderness pass yesterday.
Since I was told that parking was not much further than the next campground I figured I would walk to the trailhead. My hike started at 9am and I was greeted by a group of deer.
This would not be the last deer sighting.
The information from the Ranger about the trail was a bit misleading. In actuality, it was some distance beyond the wilderness sign before the last parking and that would have saved me a mile in both directions.
The road that lead to the trail brought me to 5 cabins that the State Park rents out that are very nice. After them there is a beach entrance parking then the wilderness gate. The trail is basically a cart road that is 7 miles long. After walking about 6 miles I was already tired as the footing is mostly soft sand that uses extra effort to walk. The trail was becoming boring although seeing deer and hearing them as all I could see are trees.
I started walking back and found what looked like a very old bulldozed flat area that could be used as a trail to the Gulf side. I followed it and got to the back side of these wonderful dunes.
I made my way through them to the beach. And my view opened up to a prestine beach lined on one side by waves and the other with dunes I had made my way through.
When I arrived at the beach the fog was gone and the sun was out. There were no human foot prints other than what wild animals had left, I felt very alone and very special to be the only one on the beach for miles. Where can you go and be really alone on a beach for miles.
I was already tired having walked 7 miles and knowing I had 7 miles to go to get back to camp. It was now 12:30p.
I would walk the beach for about 2 miles before seeing signs of human prints, but did see signs of human rubbish. The small plastic rings that hold bottle caps on & plastic coffee covers to mention a few. It makes you think how this deserted area has a human footprint of rubbish.
I finally found a sole set of outgoing and return footprints of one person in shoes,
In a distance I thought I saw people on the beach but when I got there the beach was empty. I did find footprints that lead into the dunes around one of the wilderness campsites along the trail I took in.
Finally, I came upon 2 woman digging in the sand and 2 men scavenging shells for them. They were making a sand turtle with shells for design for the turtle shell.
Lastly, there was a man and a woman sitting in lawn chairs each tending to 2 fishing poles upright in holders stuck in the sand.
I made it back and my legs and feet were killing me. When I finally got to the walkway over the dunes to my camping area the change in surface made me feel funny about my walk.
I arrived back at the camper at 3:00p. Tired and ready for a shower and dinner.
I felt tired but satisfied having invested a day to experience what many others my never experience. I'm glad this area has bee preserved for future people wishing to venture and explore the wilderness.