The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Alpacas and Blimps and Border Patrol!

Among the unexpected things I've seen on my hike so far:

An alpaca farm on the island of Grosse Ile.

This herd of over 50 animals (and more on the way) are bred and shorn and shown in competitions.

I was intrigued with their feet. They have a split hoof like cows and goats, but their hoof is like a claw for solid footing in their native mountains of South America.

The farm has a gift shop full of alpaca products: clothing, yarn, rugs, blankets, and socks.

"Alpaca is the best fiber," owner Gail Steffke told me, "it wicks even better than wool." I bought a pair of Paca Socks and the were very comfortable for hiking.

Another unexpected thing: the Goodyear blimp.

It flew over Grosse Ile on the way to Detroit for opening day for the Detroit Tigers.

And one more thing: all the Border Patrol vehicles between Port Clinton and Detroit. The US/Canadian border is called "The world's longest undefended border," but these patrols certainly keep an eye on that divide.

I spoke with the officer in the photo, Joshua Andrews, who told me that his movement along the waterways dividing the US from Canada are driven by intelligence gathered from many sources. That's quite a line to patrol, between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Location:SE Michigan

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