17 August 2008

Bruneau Dunes

On Thursday, my mom had an Excel workshop in Twin Falls. I tagged along, because that got me most of the way to Bruneau Dunes State Park, and I've been wanting to go there ever since I heard of it. It's about another hour and a half from Twin to the park. Overall impression: HOT. Admittedly, I was there at the worst possible time of day (10:00 am to 2:00 pm). If I go there again, I think I'll plan on going down in the evening, camping overnight, and then going up the dunes the following morning. Still, it was enjoyable to play on a giant sand dune. This has to be my favorite picture:

Explanation and more pics below the fold.

Those are the impressions left in the sand from my hat. It fell off when I stopped to rest on my way up the dune. ^/^

It's that way! This was when I finally cleared all the shrubs and things around the lake below the dune and could see the main path up to the top. It doesn't look that bad, does it? Probably wouldn't be at, say, 7:00 am.

Here is the view from just below the top. It took me roughly an hour from the previous picture to get to this one. Walking/climbing in that thick sand is rather interesting. It's a lot like walking in deep snow. I already knew that the trick for going down was to act like I was walking down a staircase and dig in my heels at roughly a ninety degree angle. That works beautifully in sand. For walking up, I tried the inverse of that: digging in the toes at a ninety degree angle as if going up a staircase. That does work if you get your toes dug in far enough. Unlike going downhill, gravity doesn't help you out. It's an exhausting way to walk, particularly in full sun.

And here's the view down the other side of the dune. Some interesting features that I might have been interested in exploring...had going down there not necessitated climbing back up.

I fell in love with these little grass-sand-circles. It looks like, when the wind blows, the grass tips contact the sand and make arcs as they go back and forth. There were lots of these where there was grass growing in the sand. Absolutely beautiful. Random fact: the sand where there were plants growing tended to be more solid, harder to dig my feet into, than sand elsewhere. I don't know if that's because there was more water in it, or more of a certain type of sand/soil, or what.

Those are my footsteps coming down the side of the dune, criss-crossed by another set of prints that look hoofed to me. Deer, maybe.

And here we have something that reminds me of crop circles. Clearly aliens have been using these dunes as a landing strip and the government is covering it up. Or, more likely, something about the wind flow and the shape of the dune and landscape results in oddly flowing air currents... `/^

EDIT: For more on treating sand as snow, and the presence of aliens and flamingos, click here. (Lots more pictures!)

RE-EDIT: Another good gallery here.


John said...

13 years and a couple of months ago, I was hiking through the Scottish Highlands. It was March, and it was cold. It was also windy. I came across a puddle of water that had been frothed by the wind. The froth had frozen around the edge of the puddle, and formed a ring of ice a few inches high all around. It was the coolest thing.

Qalmlea said...

Awesome. I love it when nature itself becomes the artist.