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 wide stretches of beach on Lake Michigan usually appear tan or even whitish in color, but if you pick up a handful of sand and look closely, there is a mixture of colors. Silica and quartz give the sand its light color, but there are specks of black from the mineral magnetite. This mineral is heavier than the other grains, so it often gathers in bands or patches on the shoreline, sorted by wind and waves.
Right at the waterline, magnetite often looks like a smeary, oily stain. On the face of dunes the patterns can approach art. And when blown around an obstruction, the black lines lend definition and depth to the shore.
The glaciers ground rock to these tiny grains. The wind has lifted these grains into lofting dunes. And the water continues to sort and smooth the shoreline.
The next segment of the journey will be some of the rockiest I will encounter in my adventure. The geology of the lake is interesting to study, but even more fascinating to walk step by step.