The cold weather months are just about here and it is great to be able to get out to enjoy a bit of the warm weather before it’s gone for the winter! I have wanted to test my new camping gear out for an Appalachian trail hike I am planning in the spring and figured the “3 Dunes Challenge” would offer up a taste of what my legs may go through on my AT trip, especially with a pack on my back.

We were slated to go up and down three dunes with a combined vertical ascend of 552 feet but when we reached Mt Holden, the overlook to the beach was so inviting that we made our descend to “sea level”. We spent some time at the beach enjoying the peaceful and serene feeling that the combination of sun, water and sand can offer! All happy feelings disappeared, lol, once we had to ascend 184 feet back to the top of Mt. Holden. It really wasn’t bad, my thirteen year old son paced himself really well and seemed to be full of energy. I was the victim of a 6 mile run the previous day and I was wearing my backpack and as such, I was working at a slower pace. My legs got a nice workout.

It’s strange, as we finished the hike, we questioned whether we went over three dunes and in fact, I had to look back at the trail map and through my pictures, we did stop at Mt Tom but it didn’t seem too difficult to get to.  I think it was our climb up Mt Jackson that we felt like the sand worked against us and  it was like taking two steps to make the progress of one step- this is due to the sand pulling you back down. Another part that seemed difficult was the steps ascending near trail 4 (it appears you can also hike up the side of the steps). Regardless, that seemed to be another “dune” in itself. All in all, it was about an hour and fifteen minutes from start to finish including the visit to the beach. When we were done, I actually felt like I wanted to do it again! 🙂

On another note, I am trying out a new blog: Hike, Eat, Equip Michiana.  This will cover part of the travel we don’t report on… Food and Equipment!  The adventure blog I contribute to is: South Bend Adventure Club, please visit them often 🙂

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