The weather report called for clear skies, so a friend and I decided to head over to Empire Bluffs for the sunset. The area is packed with beautiful scenery, and we were looking forward to exploring Otter Creek and the beach at the Bluffs.
I love the Empire Bluffs beach. It's not as accessible as the village beach, making it less populated and more serene than some other places in the National Lakeshore. The dunes are striking with their combination of sand and vegetation.
We arrived at the beach well before sunset, but it was already becoming clear that clouds might prevent the vista we'd anticipated.
Despite the remoteness of Empire Bluffs, footprints in the sand told the story of the popularity of this beach. It's such a long stretch of sand that people can spread out and enjoy themselves without being packed in.
Just before we arrived, a family was in the process of leaving with their children. They left behind remnants of the sand castles the kids had been building.
I didn't have my heavy, long lens with me, but I enjoyed watching the gulls and photographing them as they scrounged the beach for leftover tidbits and then took flight.
I even saw a man fly fishing on the beach. I wondered whether he was using real bait or if he was just practicing his technique.
As the time for sunset came closer, clouds continued to encroach on the space of the setting sun. People who'd come to watch nature's show began to leave the beach.
A thick cloud bank sat at the horizon, and we decided that what we were seeing was as good as it was going to get. While the clouds and sun had painted the sky with lovely, colorful patterns, a clear sunset wasn't going to happen. We packed up and made the long trudge through the sand to the car.
As we stowed the last of the gear in the back of my car, I turned towards the beach one last time. Oh, my! We'd gotten a beautiful sunset after all.