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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Unleashed at the Dunes Segment?

Over the weekend I stayed at Point Beach State Park which is in the town of Two Rivers, just north of Manitowoc.  Sites 1-20 are non electric, 1st come 1st served and site 11 was perfect for my needs.  This park is heavily wooded, sites 1-20 are practically right on the main park road and the mosquitoes aren't kidding around once it warms up.  However, the beach is great and the shower facilities above average.  Most of the sites are not big rig friendly but there are a few big ones available.  If you want a weekend I'd say you're already too late for a prime site for the rest of the year.  They book up fast at the state parks here, but if you can come during the week reservations aren't really needed unless you're looking for something specific.

site 11

I was out looking for the Dunes segment trailhead in Two Rivers by 9:00 and chose the north end on Columbus Street as my starting point.  The Ice Age Guidebook made a big fuss about the trail being a little hard to find at the other end behind Aurora Medical Center so I figured I'd take the easy route.

Columbus Street

Right away the trail entered some woods in a residential section but the houses dropped away quickly as the trail makes its way in to the Woodland Dunes State Natural Area.  There was quite a few hemlocks and ferns to start, but then the forest changed.  I saw a lot of owls.

Okay, they weren't live owls, I'll confess. The trees and ferns were real though.  Lots of Jack-in-the Pulpit too, and some Bishop's Cap which is the first time I've seen that since I was in the Smokies!

The Bishop's Cap is so tiny its blossoms are only an eighth of an inch across!  The little petals look like snowflakes up close.

Mitella diphylla (also known as Two-leaf Miterwort)

The Ice Age Trail follows the Trillium Trail for most of the 2.6 miles of the Dunes segment.  I know that this used to be "dunes" as I discussed before when Lake Michigan was 30 feet higher, but in this state natural area the ground is relatively flat and I did not see much sand.

bridge across a swale

I also didn't see much trillium, it seems to be a little late getting started here.  I spotted 2 Nodding Trillium that were just opening and not very photogenic.  By the end of the week they will probably be stunning though.

I did see a few of these blossoming trees, if anyone knows what they are I sure would like to know!  I also saw Field Pussytoes in both of the fields I passed through, and it seems they are busy getting some trees replanted as well.

The IAT Guidebook mentioned crossing some railroad tracks but I assumed they meant real tracks that are in use.  In another week or two these tracks won't even likely be visible.

When I got to the end at the Aurora parking lot it seemed it should be easy to find the other trailhead.  Just drive around to the back going to the left as you are facing the facility and there is a large sign at the trailhead.  I turned around and then not far in I noticed a spur to a viewing platform.  Of course I scared off the ducks before I got a good look at them, but the geese didn't seem to mind my presence.

Foggy reflection

Overall it was a nice little trail, great for a short easy stroll.  I even made a little movie.  Don't know what the heck I'm doing, of course.  Just goofed around on YouTube.  I did figure out that I kept having problems with pixelation because I was moving the camera so this time I kept the camera still and moved myself!

Sometimes I hate going both ways on a trail, but I'm glad I did so on this one.  As I was completing my return trip I suddenly spotted an old car off the trail that I couldn't see coming from the other direction.

I stepped around carefully, sure to make my presence known to not startle any critters that might have set up a home in it.  In another month this will be even harder to find when the weeds grow in thicker.

I only met one other person on the trail, unusual for a Sunday, but maybe the weather kept some folks away or maybe it's just not a popular spot.  We spent a few lovely minutes chatting about dogs and retirement.  The Ice Age Trail does allow dogs on leashes, but I must say every person I see with a dog has it off leash.  What is the consensus out there about this practice?  Most folks taking their dogs to these out of the way spots have animals that are well behaved, but part of the prohibition is meant as an attempt to protect these areas from damage.  I know the other lady with her 2 dogs that I met on the Point Beach segment had them running all over the place in and out of the dunes and through fragile habitat.  Thoughts?  No judgment, I'm a bit conflicted on this issue and am seriously wondering what others think.

On my way out of the area I spotted this neat bicycle sculpture outside an art museum in Manitowoc.  No matter how many times I drive through an area I always see something new!  Today we are actually in a new area, Wayne and Cory and I drove to Two Harbors, Minnesota with the RV last night.


  1. Great pictures and blog Pam. As for your leash question, I will judge. It angers me when I see people who feel for some reason the law doesn't apply to them. I've yet to meet a dog owner who doesn't think their dog is well behaved and whether they are or not has nothing to do with breaking the law. The leash laws are there for multiple reasons and should be obeyed.

    1. Yes, I usually get "Don't worry, he's friendly" when I see a dog off leash. As if that's the only reason for leash laws! My conflict comes with dogs should be allowed to be dogs, (and kids should be allowed to be kids and run around too) after all there are other wild animals roaming the same land, including coyotes. But.....

  2. Beautiful hardwood forests, even on misty days.

  3. While I'm not sure there's a solid reason for every law in the land (seriously? haha), leash laws are there to protect other people and the environment from wandering dogs. Unleashed dogs "do their business" out of their owner's sight and no one cleans it up. As a woman who's been bitten by a big dog and is skittish around most dogs, I panic at an animal running around. Lease laws are good, IMO, and should be obeyed, but most owners let 'em run loose, everywhere we go. "Hey, that law is okay for you ... but it doesn't apply to me!" Phooey.

  4. Love the movie, Ms DeMille. I too am a bit conflicted on the lease laws,but have a friend who is deathly afraid of dogs,so I go with lease and will say something if a dog is running around.