View from Mt. Holden

View from Mt. Holden sm

View from Mt. Holden

One of the days when I visited Lake Michigan earlier this week, strong gusts were whipping from the north and the skies had become cloud covered. Rather than walk along the wind-swept beach, and since the temperature was chilly, I decided to hike an inner trail that I hadn’t traveled yet.

Though only one and a half miles long, Trail 8 is labeled as the most rugged at the Indiana Dunes State Park. Its route crosses the three highest peaks along the dunes—Mt. Jackson, Mt. Holden, and Mt. Tom, each nearly 200 feet tall—and at times the climb can seem almost ninety degrees straight up.

Arriving from the inland side of the dunes and moving through forested land, the trail is well protected from the coastal winds. Indeed, the calm and cool conditions underneath the trees and away from the lake appeared ideal for my hike.

Since I have already climbed Mt. Tom, the highest point of the Indiana Dunes, a number of times by taking other trails, my main goal on Tuesday was to reach the peak of Mt. Holden, which I have mentioned in previous posts as the place above the site where artist Frank V. Dudley’s historic lakeside studio cottage once stood. [An image of the building can be found online in Dudley’s painting, A Midsummer Bouquet, at the linked page.]

As can be seen in my photograph above, which I snapped as I was descending from Mt. Holden toward the shore, the view of Lake Michigan is excellent. This sand blowout is the location where Dudley spent much of his time. In fact, the flat green space with a few small trees just beside the sand path (and to the observer’s left of center in the picture) is where I had discovered Dudley’s beach house once existed.

Obviously, the structure had a wonderful beachfront and a clear view of his beloved Chicago skyline apparent across the water on any clear day, which Dudley and his wife enjoyed from their porch or the studio’s wall of six big windows that faced the lake.

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