Hiking shoes? Check. Rain gear? Check. Google Music outdoors playlist? Check. Maps for getting there? Check, with Google Maps on our phone to get us right to the beach with turn-by-turn directions.
We headed out with the DROID RAZR HD BY MOTOROLA and the MOTOROLA S11-FLEX HD Stereo Bluetooth headset to tackle the Indiana Dunes State Park. Founded in 1925, the park spans 3 miles of beach along Lake Michigan’s southern shore and contains 2,182 acres in total. Part of the larger Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which has 15,000 acres, the park boasts 45 miles of hiking trails of varying skill and endurance levels.
As we arrived near the beach, the Field Trip app alerted us in our S11 headset of historically significant sites, such as Le Petit Fort, where a battle was fought on December 5, 1780 between American forces under command of Lt. Thomas Brady and Jean Baptiste Hamelin and British forces under command of Dahreau de Quindre. Fortunately, the good guys won. Field Trip also pointed out an 1830s French Canadian homestead, and a working 1900s-era farm all within the lakeshore’s boundaries.
Ready to hike what our map said was the most rugged trail, it was time for the music to get us pumped. The HD stereo sound on the S11-FLEX HD was crystal clear with great range from high highs to a pumping bass line to get us revved up. Just under two miles long, trail number 8 takes us over the tops of the three highest dunes, providing nice lake views.
One of the cool things about the Dunes is that every time you go back for a new visit over the years, you get a different perspective. Some of the “live dunes” move a few feet each year, and showcase a vast array of more than 1,400 plant species and trees. The trails are all well-marked and fence off most of the surrounding areas to avoid disturbing the fragile ecology. There are a few places to climb the dunes, including West Beach and Mount Baldy. According to our park guide book, there are also more than 250 species of birds, deer, hognose snakes, and 12-lined racerunners.
Having conquered trail number 8, and our playlist barely dented, it was time to keep moving. Up next, the longest trail, number 10, a 5.5 mile hike through stands of white pines and a “tree graveyard” in the Big Blowout. Blowouts simply put, are dunes formed by the on-shore winds of Lake Michigan. The winds move sand and pile it up to form the dunes, and then plants begin to take hold, stabilizing the sand.
The rain was starting to fall as we headed back to the visitors center. All in all, a great day for a hike and rocking out with our S11 headsets. Time to point Google Maps back towards home, and with the all-day long battery of the DROID RAZR HD, there’s still plenty of juice to get us there, and then some.