Others have a unique shared talent – like a remarkable ability to play classical music on the kazoo.
My family, we have pie.
Lots and lots of pie.
Hence, this massive pile of pies at my father’s family reunion in Indiana in June:
That’s how I knew I was with my people. Like, of course there’s a big huge pile of pies. DUH. What else would there be?
There was also an entire table of alcohol.
Also, not surprising. Like I said, THESE ARE MY PEOPLE.
Pies and booze?
That was kind of a given.But when it was announced that my cousins were arranging a morning hike at the nearby Indiana Dunes State Park?
That was something of a surprise.
Not that my family is a totally unathletic, non-hiking bunch of people or anything. Quite a few of my cousins are the sporty types who look like they might actually hike regularly and on purpose and not totally by accident like I do.
I just can’t recall ever going on a hike together with any of my family members before. Hiking is just not one of those things we do when we get together. Probably because it’s kind of hard to go hiking when you’re so full of pie.
But I agreed to tag along.
After all, how hard could it be to hike up a few sand dunes?
I should probably mention here that I’d never actually hiked a sand dune before. In fact, I’m not entirely sure I’d ever even seen a sand dune in person before my trip to the park.
I pictured lots of gently rolling sandy slopes — the kind that you see in movies. I imagined myself strolling slowly but effortlessly up them while dressed in something white and flowy. There may or may not have been a few camels and this guy right here involved in this scenario as well.It turns out that hiking up a sand dune is pretty much exactly like hiking up a very large hill.
It even looked like a large hill. There were walking trails and lots of trees and shrubs and twirling vines waiting to strangle unsuspecting hikers.
The only difference between hiking up a sand dune and a really large hill is that it was about a billion times harder.
Because as the name suggests, sand dunes are made out of sand.
SAND, YOU GUYS.
Sand is not one of those surfaces that’s particularly easy to walk on in the first place — even in its most horizontal form.
Trying to walk on sand in super-large-hill-form?
It also didn’t help that it was like a million-billion degrees out and one hundred percent crazy-pants humidity.
At some point as I was huffing and puffing up an impossible sand hill, I turned to my cousin and said, “I thought these dunes would be a lot more, you know, duney.” She just looked at me like she wasn’t entirely sure what I was talking about. (But you guys all know what I’m talking about, right? RIGHT? You know, DUNEY.)We somehow managed to struggle our way up three of the largest dunes, including Mt. Tom, Indiana’s tallest sand dune, which is almost two hundred feet tall. In case you’re wondering, that’s a whole lot of sand dune.
At the top, we were greeted by a boardwalk and this graffiti, which we tried not to take too personally.
Luckily the walk down was a lot easier. Probably because it was downhill and there were actual steps involved.
And probably because we all knew that there would be pie waiting for us upon our return.
Luckily, we were right.Have you ever hiked up a sand dune before? Was it duney? (And don’t tell me you don’t know what I mean by “duney.”)