The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Liebster Award Nomination

I have been nominated for the "Liebster Award" by the the dynamic duo, Mary Catterlin & Amy Lukas. They made a dugout canoe from a cottonwood tree, named it Makeba, then paddled/sailed it all the way around Lake Michigan!

Mary (left) and Amy (right) trying out paddling hats

Mary and Amy in front of the museum in Indiana where their boat was on display after they made their historic paddle around Lake Michigan

This award is passed on from blogger to blogger as a way to share stories and connect others. Once nominated, you have to answer the questions given. Then you continue the chain by nominating your blogger friends with your own questions.
Here are the questions Mary & Amy asked:

* If you could have brought one celebrity on part of one of your adventures, who would that have been?

Well, I'd rather have time with a naturalist or conservationist. If I can choose people from the past, I'd choose John Muir, Rachel Carson, or Aldo Leopold. If I can only from the living, I'd choose E.O. Wilson. It would be wonderful to discuss the natural world with any one of these people while walking the edges of our Great Lakes.

* What surprised you most about choosing this lifestyle?

Wild hiking weather during my first adventure

I knew it would be difficult to walk a 1,000 miles, but I didn't know HOW difficult. That was surprising. Then the fact that it became easier to hike 15+ miles a day the longer I did it was also surprising.

* What's the stickiest situation you've found yourself in on one of your adventures?

Sunset in the Apostle Islands

While kayaking in the Apostle Islands, a microcell storm descended on me while I was trying to paddle across an open channel. The wind and waves were so strong that I  had to paddle like a mad woman to just keep from being pushed backward. 

* If your journey had a soundtrack, what would it's signature track be?

Kelly Clarkson's "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger"

* What's your dream trip?

My three adventures exploring the Great Lakes have been the fulfillment of my dreams.

* What's the most valuable lesson you've taken away from your travels?

Learning to read the land, the geology, has been a wonderful new skill.

* What pet would you bring on your next trip?

I would probably leave pets at home. Time in the wild is wonderful, and I would worry that bringing a pet along may scare off wildlife.

I nominate Kate & Mike (who walked all the way around Lake Superior) to answer the same questions!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The largest Great Lake city

Chicago is the largest city on the shores of our Great Lakes. This city has a long history of preserving access to the lakeshore 
for Chicagoans and visitors.

Daniel Burnham created a plan for the city preserving an open lakefront.

Today, there are park areas and a new playground being constructed on the lakeshore. 
And much of the architecture here relates to Lake Michigan. My favorite is the Aqua skyscraper (in photo below) designed by Studio Gang Architects 
led by Jeanne Gang. 

Aqua (center building) echoes the waves of Lake Michigan in the undulating balconies

 I am enjoying my time in this great city.

Cloud Gate (also known as "The Bean") reflects both the city and the lakeshore

Sunday, January 11, 2015


As I revise the manuscript for my upcoming book,
I revisit the experiences I had on the
 islands of the Great Lakes.

My travels spanned from the wilds of Isle Royale in Lake Superior... 

Isle Royale

to the metropolis of Montreal on an island 
in the St. Lawrence River. 


These experiences reshaped my concept
 of our Great Lakes. By launching out onto the waters to find these floating outposts, I discovered an entire new aspect of the Great Lakes.

I can't wait to share this new book with you.
A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure
will be available at select indie bookstores in May, then everywhere books are sold in June. 

For a list of indie bookstores participating in the May release of the book, check HERE.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Great Lakes in Motion

The Great Lakes are constantly in motion.

Not only are they slowly moving water to the North Atlantic Ocean, there are also swirling currents within each lake.

Water moves around reefs, swirls around peninsulas, plunges over waterfalls and 
down rapids.

NOAA has developed a model to represent these unseen currents in the Great Lakes.

Go HERE to explore.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Different Kind of Walking Stick

While hiking Wellesley Island in the 1000 Island region of the St. Lawrence River, I took a break underneath a tree to watch the water for a few minutes.
When I stood up, I went to brush a stick from my shoulder and found this walking stick insect.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


 My final events for 2014 were "Up North," so I stopped in at several bookstores that will participate in the pre-release of my 
Great Lakes ISLAND book 
in May 2015.

All set up for my signing at M&E in Petoskey

Petoskey, MI

Horizon Books in TC

Traverse City decked the streets!

Brilliant Books, ready for holiday shoppers!

Glen Arbor's book shop

Watch for updates about the pre-release of my new book and see the growing list of participating bookstores HERE.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Parade of Horses

There are over 500 horses on Mackinac Island during the mild months. They are the literal work horses of the island doing everything from pulling visitors in large wagons on tours of the island to shuttling carts full of fresh supplies from the docks.

In November, all of these creatures are shuttled off of the island by ferry to take the winter off on farms on the mainland. 

Read more about it HERE

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy INDIE Holidays

I visited many indie bookstores today in Southwest Michigan as they were gearing up for Small Business Saturday.

The Nature Connection in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo's indie, Kazoo Books

Great Lakes books at Kazoo Books

 Kalamazoo has chosen 
The Living Great Lakes 
by Jerry Dennis as their Community Read for 2015. 
Great choice!

Great indie in St. Joseph

AND, I was able to visit Lake Michigan 
on this wintery day.  

Snow dunes...

Lake Michigan!

Lake Michigan in motion

Yep. This is my lake.

South Haven's Black River Books

Reader's World in Holland

Support your local indies on Small Business Saturday AND all year long!
All of these stores will take part in the May 2015
 pre-release of my upcoming book.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Invasive Round Goby

There are many invasive species in our 
Great Lakes. The majority of them were transported here in ballast tanks of ships from freshwater ports all over the world.

One of these recent hitchhikers is the Round Goby native to central Eurasia. They arrived in the 1990s and in less than a decade had spread to four of the five Great Lakes.

Water snakes are loving this fish...for dinner. Since Gobies tend to just sit on the rocks on the bottom of the lake, the clever water snakes sneak up on them and grab them by the head.

They then drag them to land and swallow them whole. I captured this "revenge on invasive Gobies" struggle on Manitoulin Island.

And, no, the Goby doesn't look too happy about it.