Suitcase and World: The Gray Dunes.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Gray Dunes.

High atop the Gray Dunes with a view of the Curonian Lagoon.

The Curonian Spit, kinown is Lithuanian as *Kuršių nerija*  is essentially a massive sandy barrier separating the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea.  The northern 50 kilometers of the Spit belongs to Lithuania while the southern 47 kilometers is Russian territory.  The entire Spit is designate as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

According to Lithuanian legend, the spit was formed a long time ago by Neringa, a girl giant who poured the sandy peninsula into the Baltic Sea to protect the peaceful bay from the stormy sea and create an embankment for fishermen to live. Thus, today the eastern shores of the Curonian Spit are washed by the Curonian Lagoon, while the Baltic Sea washes the western ones.

The massive sand dunes that exist on the Curonian Spit shift on a daily basis.  To preserve the landscape, the Lithuanian section of the Spit was established as a National Park in 1991.

Although sand dunes can be found along the entire length of the Curonian Spit, the largest ones exist between the villages of Juodokrante and Pervalka.  These are known as the Gray Dunes and they were the ones we stopped to visit after spending time at the Hill of Witches.

We parked our car in the lot and took the path leading to the dunes.  At the start, there no dunes in sight.

There they the hilly distance.

Map is always good.  We just kept to the path which would take us to the highest point.

Flat in the beginning.

I let Bro go ahead as it was takes me longer to go up any hill.  Damn those weak lungs of mine.

Looks flat but it was starting to get hilly.  I took breaks to catch my breath, take in the view and snap a few photos.

Pretty high up now; we're looking down at the trees.

Still more up hill walking to go but the end is in sight!

The sand was incredibly fine. Amazing how the winds drifted it up so high!

At the top of the highest of the dunes!

What an amazing view from the top!  A gentle sea breeze was blowing; it was really pleasant being up there.

Time to check the map and have a yogurt break.

More views of our surroundings.

We spent quite a while on the top of the dunes. Bro took time to have a bit of a snack and I wandered about a bit.  There was a local artist who had brought his easel and canvas up to the dunes to do a bit of painting.  I glanced over his shoulder admiring this talent.

As always, it takes me less time to go down and to go up.  Even so, Bro was waiting for me.

Our Curonian Spit adventure continues. On to Nida!