The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Ain't Nothin' but a Rock Hound!

It was torturous to hike and NOT pick up all the interesting rocks I came across.

Of course, already hiking with 30+ pounds on my back was a strong deterrent to rock-picking.

Still, when I came across these huge petoskey stones, I wanted to hoist them into my pack! 

Yep, that's a pretty big petoskey stone (ruler is 6")!

And another one!

All rocks in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are protected and must be left there. This includes both North and South Manitou Islands, so I took only photos there.

Not sure what this stone was, but it was beautiful (N. Manitou Island)

Rocks of Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan has a wonderful variety of stones.

My eye constantly scans  for the perfect composition.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Somebody's Watching Me

While hiking on the remote island of North Manitou, I had a feeling I was being watched.
I looked over my shoulder...

And saw this praying mantis riding ON my shoulder.


I dropped him off on a tree and continued my hike.

Insect life abounds at the lake edge. 
Here are a few more photos of butterflies I encountered along the way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

North Manitou Island

While hiking along Lake Michigan on this adventure, I wanted to make sure I explored the 
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
more fully.  

On my first hike I was moving pretty quickly. 
I averaged 16 miles a day. 
This time, I wanted to slow down a bit and enjoy this "Most Beautiful Place in America."

I also wanted to get out to the Manitou Islands. They are part of the National Lakeshore, too. So I headed out to North Manitou Island for several days of camping and hiking.

The Mishe-Mokwa ferry to the island

North Manitou Island

Hiking the shoreline

I had perfect weather while on the island. No rain and warm nights. Can't ask for any more than that when you're camping!

Dunes flanking the shoreline

Ahhhh...a fire, a mug of hot tea, and a NYer!

Swenson's barn

There are two gorgeous barns on the island. 
There used to be a couple hundred people living and working on these islands, and remnants of that time still exists. 

Inside Swenson's Barn

Taking a break from the hike

Markers on the island tell you when you are "Entering Wilderness"!

North Manitou is mostly wilderness. When you leave the village area, markers let you know that you are entering wilderness where deer run and coyote yip at night. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Friends along the way

The idea of a 1000-mile hike probably sounds pretty lonely, but I have times where I meet up with friends, am tracked down by family members, and even make new friends along the way.

I caught up with Mary Catterlin and Amy Lukas on my way north for this last leg of my hike. 
Mary and Amy have spent the summer paddling and sometimes sailing this little, handmade dugout canoe (with outriggers) around Lake Michigan.

Mary and Amy with their boat called Makeba

Amy and I had met for lunch to discuss the Lake Michigan shoreline before they began their adventure in July. They are now in the homestretch of their adventure and I was delighted to see their boat and drive them to Ludington for lunch. We had a great visit and discussed the importance of having adventure in our lives!

Me, Mary, and Amy (L to R) in Ludington

I caught up with Stef Staley, the Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Lighthouse. We had met back in 2009 shortly after my first hike when I was a volunteer keeper at the lighthouse. Stef rolled out the grill and cooked up a great dinner at the lighthouse to greet me on my hike this time. It was a perfect night on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula. 

Me with Stef Staley

My sister, cousin and her daughter (Leslie, Milene, and Allie) caught up with me in Leland and I took a day off to hang out (and SHOP!!) with them. 

Allie, Milene, and Leslie (L to R)

There's nothing like a day of shopping to make me long to hike all day!

They saw me off at the dock when I caught the ferry to North Manitou Island

I caught up with my friends Bill & Jan in Glen Arbor. They came to several events on my book tour last year and we became fast friends. 

Me, Bill, & Jan 

One nice thing about visiting with friends is that they sometimes snap a photo of me as I'm leaving and then send it to me later (thanks Bill & Jan!).


Along the Great Lakes shoreline there is evidence of how dangerous these vast inland seas could become in a storm.

Shipwreck on North Manitou Island

Even with the guiding lights along the shoreline, many ships were lost. The Manitou Passage between the Manitou Islands and the shoreline of Michigan's Lower Peninsula was especially treacherous.

Portion of shipwreck in water near North Manitou Island

One clue that a ship (specifically, a steamer that burned coal) has gone down is the presence of coal washing up on land. Along the NW corner of North Manitou Island, I came across handfuls of coal mixed in with zebra mussel shells.

This wreck was recently exposed near Sleeping Bear Dune

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lighthouses of Lake Michigan

Travel on the Great Lakes can be treacherous. 
 As early as the beginning of the 19th century, lighthouse construction was commissioned to guide vessels around dangerous points and into safe harbors.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse

On the Lake Michigan leg of my 
1000-Mile Great Lakes Walk 
I came across some wonderful lights that guided ships long ago.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse

South Manitou Lighthouse

Point Betsie

Manistee channel light

Ludington Lighthouse

Ludington (Big Sable) Lighthouse

I have completed 987 miles of my journey and will finish my hike along the Niagara River 
-- culminating at Niagara Falls -- 
in October!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shadow Art

While hiking a remote road, I noticed the shadows decorating the sand.

Even my own shadow got into the act.

There is beauty everywhere, sometimes as transient and ethereal as light bending its way through a forest.