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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Day 19 - 2/4/14 Long Hike & Beach

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.

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