woensdag 24 maart 2010

21st of March : spring has started

Not only on my calendar but also in real life. Yesterday was mostly cloudy with some very heavy downpours at the end of the day but today the temperature reached a staggering 14 degrees Celsius with a lot of sunshine.
A perfect day to go to the Soestse Duinen with my eldest son and our dog Atilla. The Soestse Duinen are part of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug : a ridge of sand deposited during the ice-age period of the Saalien. During the last ice-age, the Weichselien period, the ridge became partly covered by sand due to the dominating westerly winds. Heather and forests formed after the ice had definitely retreated but after the introduction of men and cattle most of it disappeared. The wind formed 'walking' sanddunes even covering small settlements. During the last 100 years or so vegetation and trees got hold again of the sand and nowadays the dunes have to be protected by cutting down the trees and removing vegetation.

Normally the dunes are completely dry but because of the cold and long winter the ground isn't very permeable at the moment. I've never seen so many 'lakes' here, only the lowest point contains some water after heavy rains.

It was a surprise for me and a very enjoyable one for Atilla who likes to swim. Gillean, my son, tested his new goretex lined Lowe boots he will be using in Scotland in May.
Despite the 'lakes' there was still enough loose sand to train the muscles.
A lot of people with dogs used this beautifull day for walking and some for horseriding. Atilla likes to run at topspeed (he's fast for a big dog) for hundreds of yards towards horses and once close he comes to the conclusion it really is a big animal and returns at topspeed again.

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