Sunday, November 7, 2010

‎'Walking on the Moon'

I have only scratched the surface of the  Schoorl Dunes National Park, but so far there is plenty to see  and the size of the dunes is surprising.  Said to be the largest in the country, the dunes were a change of scenery because we were  not accustomed to seeing elevation higher than raised bridge crossings over canals.

The Schoorl Dunes National Park is the widest and most varied nature reserve along the coast of The Netherlands: beautiful footpaths and cycle paths which wind between dunes and polder landscape and beach access (Schoorl aan Zee) where no cars are allowed.”

The landscape looks like something between moon craters, the surface of another planet or the greener parts of a desert region.  The highest visible dune resembles the mountain that Richard Dreyfuss was obsessed with in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”   The view of the North Sea coast and surrounding dunes and fun falling back down make this hill worth the climb.

Wind constantly whips over, around and through the sand craters and hills that were formed from this wind almost constantly blowing sand in all directions.   The older dunes were formed before the birth of Christ and the newer ones took shape in the 12th century.  Vegetation has stabilized the formations into the playground it is today.

What does this sign mean?
 Bike  trails run parallel in many places to the North Sea beach.  Hikers and bikers can wind through the dune hills and low spots of scrub or take a break on the beach.    Some dunes are fenced off, so be sure to take a translation guide to be able to read posted signs.

The neighboring wooded areas are worth the trek as well and appear to have grown up over the dunes. Much of the forest floor is a sandy soil mixture and there are a number of bonsai-style trees to see as well as exotic mushrooms.  There are also plenty of sandy slopes to roll down.
A rope leads down the slope.

Another view nearby at North Sea shore.

The sandy forest floor.

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