The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Moose...in a Jar??

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com

The primary purpose of Moosewatch Expeditions on Isle Royale is to locate moose bones and carry them back to the scientists.
On this year's hike, our team found something unique: an entire moose skeleton that fit in a jar. 

Rolf Peterson holds the "Moose in a Jar"

We found these tiny bones on a hillside near Dustin Lake. They were near a large ant hill and had all been meticulously cleaned...presumably by the hard working ants.

Tiny bones...


It took us some time to figure out what creature these bones were from. They were not fully ossified, so we wondered if they were avian...or some small mammal. 
But then we found a tooth.

Tiny tooth

It was a molar from a herbivore, and there is only one herbivore on Isle Royale...
MOOSE.


Tiny MOOSE bones

We deducted that this was a moose miscarriage, one that happened during the winter, of a fetus still a few months shy of fully formed. 


Adult moose molar next to the fetal molar


Fetal bone


A bull moose skull can weigh around 10 pounds. If the antlers are attached, it can weigh over 20 pounds. 
It was amusing to present Dr. Peterson with this unique find: a moose in a jar.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Little Greenstone Beach

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com


This year I hiked my third Moosewatch Expedition on Isle Royale. I was on a wonderful team led by Chris Woeltje from Illinois. 
This wildlife study draws people from all over the US...and the WORLD.
I've hiked alongside people from many states (IL, OK, WI, MI, MN, CO), and from a couple of other countries (Costa Rica and Canada). 

This year we had our basecamp on the shores of Lake Superior for part of the week. We pitched our tents near Little Greenstone Beach on the southern edge of Isle Royale.

Here are some photos from this special place:







The moon shines through the birch trees



Flecks of native copper within a stone



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jack Pine

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com



Isle Royale has a mixture of trees, conifers and deciduous of many types.

Trees (and me) on Isle Royale


The jack pine grows here, unique because its pinecones are tightly closed.


jack pine pinecones


close shot of pinecones


And they only open when burned.

The jack pine cone opens when burned, releasing the seeds within


During Moosewatch in 2014, my team hiked through an area of the island that burned many years ago. The area was still recovering. Ash was still present on the ground in places.

Burned area


This natural process is necessary for the jack pine to flourish. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Training for Isle Royale

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com


On this windy, cool day, I took one last training hike before heading to Isle Royale to be part of a Moosewatch Expedition.

The misty view from the top of the Empire Bluff Trail

 It was in the high 30s, windy and rainy. Perfect weather to train for Isle Royale!
The wildflowers were braving the weather, beginning to show.


Trillium



Dutchman Breeches


The Empire Bluff Trail is one of my favorites to hike in any weather! 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Freshwater Dunes

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com



Sleeping Bear Dune

The tallest fresh water dunes on in the world are on our Great Lakes. 
The tallest Great Lakes dunes are on Lake Michigan on the shores of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. They rise over 400 feet above the lake.

Perched dunes have layers of stone mixed with the sand

Perched dunes are steeper than dunes made of pure sand. The layers of stone stabilize these dunes.

Close up of stone layer in perched dune




Wind sculpts the top of this dune

Dunes without plants or trees growing on them are called "living dunes." These formations are still responsive to wind, waves, and gravity.

Small sand eroisions pulled by gravity 


Gravity acts on sand


Dune frosted with clouds



View from Empire Bluff Trail


Here's a link to info on the Empire Bluff Trail, one of my favorite hikes.


Climbing the dune at the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (the black dots are people!)


Perched dune along Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior

Explore our Great Lakes!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Holland's Century Club

 I travel all over the Midwest (and beyond) giving talks about my Great Lakes Adventures.
This spring I was invited to give a talk to the Century Club of Holland.
This social club has been meeting to share the visual, literary, and performing arts for 120 years! 

They met at the Macatawa Yacht Club, a gorgeous facility on Lake Macatawa. 

Macatawa Yacht Club




Lake Macatawa


A painting of "Big Red," Holland's lighthouse

In the 1800s, the meetings were hosted in member's homes and the host would stage a play they had written, or share a concert with the club. Today, the club often brings in an author to talk to the group. Since they live so near Lake Michigan, they chose me for their spring meeting.

The president of the club


Night falls outside as I get ready to speak

If you are part of a group searching for a dynamic and engaging speaker, feel free to contact me at
LakeTrek@gmail.com
and learn more about me at

Life should be an adventure,
-Loreen Niewenhuis 
Author, Adventurer & Speaker

"Loreen translates her passion for our Great Lakes into advocacy, education, science, humor, and beauty by taking her audience with her on these GREAT adventures. Her five-city speaking blitz awed and inspired Indiana conservationists. Her adventures are truly amazing!"
-Martha Bolyard, former Associate Director of Philanthropy
The Nature Conservancy of Indiana

"Loreen is a great speaker: funny, informative, approachable, and so interesting...she even makes geology fascinating! She's been featured in the Detroit Free Press, the Chicago Sun-Times, and Country Woman Magazine. I highly recommend her."
-Colleen Leddy, Head Librarian
Stair Public Library

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lake Trek 8th Anniversary

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com




Today is the 8th anniversary of my hike around Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan rocks along Sleeping Bear Bay


This 1,019 mile hike encircling my favorite Great Lake expanded my understanding of this place...and of myself.




Wild weather near Saugatuck, MI

This hike took 64 days
and I averaged 16 miles per day.
Whew!

Limestone edge of Michigan's U.P.





Crossing the Mackinaw Bridge

This amazing adventure is chronicled in my first book, A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach.




The Heartland Indie Bestselling book about my Lake Michigan adventure

(available wherever books are sold)
And this first journey led to two more 1,000-mile adventures exploring our wondrous 
Great Lakes.

The three books in my Great Lakes Adventure series



Learn more about me, my adventures, and our Great Lakes HERE.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Gales of...March?

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com


March 2017 brought the strong winds to Michigan, the strongest in almost 20 years.
The lowest pressure recorded in the center of this storm was typical of a category 2 hurricane.
Many locations in Michigan recorded 
winds above 60 mph.



I walked along Grand Traverse Bay today. The metal railing along the bay was skirted with ice, but when I got close to it the power of the storm was revealed.


                                                         

Icicles formed at a 45 degree angle due to the force of the winds


Two layers of icicles demonstrate the weakening of the storm

Learn more about the storm here.