The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Frozen Lake

I was out at The Lake yesterday. It is frozen on the Michigan side. There is a large windrow of ice near the shore where the waves have tossed and stacked chunks of sheet ice (the humps of white in the photos). Past that was intact ice for as far as I could see.

The sheet ice lends a calmness to the lake. There are no waves, no sound of moving water. The wind can scream across the lake when it's covered over with ice, but there was only a mild breeze yesterday.

I was out at the lake to have lunch with my friend Joan Donaldson at her farm in Fennville. She is a wonderful writer who has had many essays in the Christian Science Monitor (and many other places), and has published several books for children and middle readers. We talked about writing and Michigan and The Lake. She has a passion for Lake Michigan, too.

Many people have asked me about walking around the lake and how I can do that with so much of the land being privately held. The Supreme Court of Michigan ruled in 2003 that the land near the lake that has been scrubbed free of vegetation is public land. Indiana has a similar ruling. Illinois has a stricter guideline, one that says you must 'keep your feet wet' to be on public land. Wisconsin has ruled both ways at various times, so keeping my feet wet in Wisconsin will probably be a good idea.

There are, of course, tracts of industry or nuclear power plants that will have to be circumnavigated. I'll have to go inland to get around these obstacles.

And there are large stretches of beach lined with private homes and private staircases down the dunes. Another reason I went to The Lake yesterday was to locate public access points where I could get to and from the lake. Thankfully, there are many of these points along the trek.

The Lake should always be for all people.


  1. "Mild Breeze.." HAH! like only 45mph instead of 65??
    oh, and keeping your feet wet in IL. Hmmnn will you be walking with waders, ice skates, flip flops? I am willing to send you an awesome spray bottle which you can refill at your leisure to keep those toes damp. (always one to help making sure the letter of the law is kept!)

    The final countdown: T-16

  2. It was mild while I was out there! I was near South Haven, and it was quite pleasant. Well, for February!

    I'm thinking that the beaches are going to be pretty deserted on the first few legs of this trek, so I'm not worried about keeping my toes wet. By the time I'm in Wisconsin, it should be warmer and more conducive to wading.