It’s a little stormy when we pull in to Bruneau Dunes state park. A blustery wind whips sand off the tall dunes like spindrift on a snowy peak. We’ve seen on the map that there are two small lakes at the base of the dunes, an odd juxtaposition, but we can’t see them from the campground.
In the morning we attempt to run the 6-mile loop trail that traverses the dunes, but as soon as we hit the steep sand it becomes clear that running is out of the question. It’s a slow slog to the crest, but the descent goes quickly in surprisingly tiring giant bounding steps to the shady bowers surrounding the lakes below. This is where most of the park’s visitors congregate, fishing and picnicking below the 450-foot dunes. As we reach the road a loud, unearthly sound emerges from the hills beyond the dunes. Something like the creak of a long train starting to move, maybe, but amplified a million times. One of the picnickers says it’s Mothra coming to destroy civilization (a Godzilla reference, I know from childhood TV), and that kind of sounds right too. The noise repeats half a dozen times, but civilization continues regardless.