Friday, October 8, 2021

The Newest Bark Ranger of Indiana Dunes National Park: Day 3


We had some business to accomplish on this morning! Our prospective Bark Ranger had finished pretty much all of her required activities, but this prospective Junior Ranger still had some work to do, so we went on a hike:

It was a misty, overcast morning on the Bailly Homestead, but we had the place to ourselves as we wandered around:

Look how lush and green the trail was!

After a short hike through a forest full of sugar maples, we reached the working Chellberg Farm:

Luna had a BIG adventure here!

I am very unsure of Luna around farm animals. She embarrassed me by barking at draft horses at Kentucky Horse Park, and I still hold over her head the one time, years ago, that she lost her mind and mortally wounded a chicken and I had to behead it.

Honestly, I might still be in low-key hysterics from that one...

So even though these sweeties looked as content and happy as... well, this--

--I was extremely reluctant for Luna to do this--

--and then this--

--and then this!

The pig didn't seem particularly fazed by our slightly overexcited dog, but pigs have a lot of teeth and I didn't relish the idea of carrying a dog with her face half bitten off the long hike back to the car, so I made Will pull her away and we all hiked back, faces unbitten, through a woods that was now looking a lot more like this:

It started raining before we were quite finished, but don't you find that weather that's unpleasant to humans is often the best for spotting wild critters? Look at my new friend, the gray ratsnake!

Back, then, to our Airbnb for snacks, a glass of wine for the grown-up, and a lovely interlude watching Luca courtesy of our Airbnb's Disney+ subscription.

I REALLY liked our Airbnb!

Luca was perfectly timed, because by the time the credits rolled, the sky was blue again. 

Back we went to the beach!

I could have really liked Central Avenue Beach--it was much quieter than West Beach, and had a much easier walk to get to with a fun scramble down a dune at the end--

--but the whole time we were there, we were absolutely mobbed by some sort of horrible, stinging fly. I didn't bring any anti-stinging fly repellant, and anyway, they were also clearly biting Luna, as well.

We, at least, could escape entirely into the water--

--but Luna is still scared to go out beyond her knees.

Will had the brilliant idea that Luna would be less susceptible to horrible fly stings if she was covered in sand:

It was obviously the best of many good decisions made during this trip:

As I was taking four thousand photos of our adorable dog with sand on her snoot, I happened to notice that the beach we were on was clearly adjacent to the beach that Matt and I had walked on our own trip to Indiana Dunes the month before:

And that's how I came full circle on this trip, happily achieving my dream on almost the very same spot where I first dreamed it.

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