FKT: Nathan Broom - Indiana Dunes High Traverse (IN) - 2021-01-22

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Total time
2h 17m 13s
GPS track(s)

The Indiana Dunes are a special place. Framed by a steel mill on one end and a power plant on the other, this is a delightful oasis of wild landscape and distinctive trails.

This route links together the national park and the state park with about two miles of roads in the middle. There is a substantial network of trails in these parks, and navigation is key to this FKT. It seems to me there are three options: 1) get very familiar with the route in advance, 2) run with a GPS device with pre-loaded route in hand, or 3) run with a guide. I had the good fortune of the third option. I contacted Mike, the originator of this route, and he generously offered to run with me through the trickiest sections. I would have spent a lot of time with phone in hand otherwise, trying not to miss a turn.

I got a beautiful January afternoon with temps in the low 20s and plenty of sun. With the exception of some south-facing slopes, the sand was frozen and fast. Cowles Bog was wonderful, as was "the ridge" section northeast of the Three Dunes Challenge loop. It runs counter to my values not to finish a lakeside run with a swim, but I found excuses this time. A wind chill in the teens might have figured in my thinking.

I clocked this route at 15.72 miles. That means an out-and-back variation would make a very nice 50k. I hope others get out there to enjoy this lovely route!