The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Les Cheneaux Row

 While exploring the Les Cheneaux Islands, I was invited to join the 
local rowing club for a morning row. 

Of course, I said yes!

Two wooden dories await rowers at the dock

 This club builds their boats from kits made by Chesapeake Light Craft
of Annapolis, MD.

Laurel handled the rudder, Jim and Janaan handled the first two oars...

...while Mike and I handled the other two (when I wasn't taking photos)

It was surprisingly invigorating to row as a team, to time my pull with everyone else on board.

LOVE the club's motto:  "Row it like you stole it!"

For more information about paddling these islands, go HERE.
And for a great place to stay while you explore the Les Cheneauxs, check out Dancing Waters B&B.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

James Berryhill, Master Boatbuilder

While in the Les Cheneaux Islands, I explored the "boat culture" that has a long history in the area.

I was delighted to meet James Berryhill who retired to the islands in the early 1980s.

James Berryhill in his workshop

A wooden canoe is almost ready for the water

He has an extensive workshop where he has built many wooden canoes (each of his grandkids receive one when they graduate high school), some duck boats, and, most recently, 
four wooden dories (with the help of the 
Les Cheneaux Row Club).

Berryhill is also an accomplished wood carver

One of the Les Cheneaux Row Club's dories

I was invited to row with the club (which, of course, I accepted). I will blog about this soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Les Cheneaux Islands: Dancing Waters B&B

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

Jim and Betty Struble have life figured out.

Jim and Betty Struble

They own the Dancing Waters Bed & Breakfast 

located on Hill Island which is part of the 
beautiful Les Cheneaux archipelago.  

This collection of Islands snugs up against Michigan's Upper Peninsula about ten miles 
east of Mackinac Island.

This is a watery place that invites boats of all sorts to come and play in these sheltered passages. The Struble's B&B is located on the southern point of Hill Island, so watery views abound.

View from the table that Jim made

The Lakeview Room

I had the "Lakeview Room," but I renamed it the "Peeping Deer Room" because I awoke one morning to a deer looking in my window!

Perfect view

 I brought my Advanced Elements kayak with me and launched it from the B&B's dock. 
Talk about convenient!

I launched my kayak from their boathouse dock

Dancing Waters B&B is comfortable, the owners incredibly knowledgeable about the area, and Betty makes her own breads!

Betty's bread is rising...

Two of the finished loaves (Cherry Walnut and Pecan Apricot!)

The view is breathtaking

Deer visit all day long

Jim is building an addition to the B&B and he has a grand vision for the future. He is a builder and a master woodworker. 

A spiral staircase with a single, central cedar tree trunk will one day grace the outside of the structure.

Jim's woodworking shop

Jim is crafting every aspect of the addition, and the work is impressive. When I found out that he is doing most of it by himself, I was astonished. 

Top of the World!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Les Cheneaux Islands: Land of Wooden Boats

The Les Cheneaux Islands 
("Cheneaux" is French for "channels") 
abound with protected waterways that have called to boaters for centuries.

Chris Craft wooden boat

There is a recent history here (in the last century), connected to the classic wooden boats like this Chris Craft model.

There are many shops in this area that build and/or restore wooden boats.

Classic interior

It's nice to see the classics still afloat.

So shiny, you can take a selfie in it!

The Annual Les Cheneaux Antique Wooden Boat Show is August 9, 2014.

This month I explored this area using four different types of boats and, of course, hiking.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

The Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is located just outside Ashland, Wisconsin, near the shores of Lake Superior. This is a wonderful center with information on the Apostle Islands and other things to explore in the area.
And it is FREE.


NGLVC entry

Watery map of the nearby Apostle Islands

I was invited to speak there on my way home from Isle Royale!

Lots of info on area activities

I gave my Great Lakes Lecture in the 
state-of-the-art auditorium.

NGLVC auditorium

Friday, June 20, 2014

Inland Seas Schoolship

The Inland Seas Education Association has been in Suttons Bay for 25 years.

The mission of this organization is:

Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help people of all ages experience the science and spirit of the Great Lakes through hands-on, experiential learning activities aboard a traditionally-rigged tall ship schooner. The knowledge gained through these experiences will provide the education, understanding, and commitment needed for the long-term stewardship of the Great Lakes. 

The Schoolship at full sail (photo courtesy of ISEA Facebook Page)

This year, the Schoolship took its 100,000th student out on the water! 

Kids help haul sails

Pulling up the trawl net

I had time this month to get out on the Schoolship and watch the students learn about the lake.

While on a Schoolship cruise, the students help cast and haul an otter trawl net that gathers fish and other creatures from the lake. They also help hoist the sails. They take the temperature of the lake at the surface and at the bottom. Then, they pull up lake sediment.

Students explore lake life

The students rotate through stations that allow them to fully explore the lake as the ship sails Suttons Bay.

Red worms live in the lake sediment

A crayfish stands on a round goby

Students study microscopic life in the lake: zooplankton and phytoplankton

ISEA's Schoolship is a wonderful way for students to connect with these vital, fresh waters.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Northport, Michigan, On the Rise

On my most recent adventure exploring the islands of the Great Lakes, I had time to stop in at Dog Ears Books in Northport, Michigan. 

Pamela Grath, owner of Dog Ears Books tallies my purchases

Dog Ears Books

This is a great indie bookstore with quality used books along with some new titles. Pamela lets me know when she's acquired a book about the 
Great Lakes that might interest me.

This is one of my favorite e-mails to receive: 
"I have a book for you..."
I have built an impressive Great Lakes library with the help of my friends at indie bookstores.

I was surprised by all of the change and construction in the little town of Northport.

Check it out: 

New buildings everywhere in Northport

Construction continues...

New places open...

This little lakeshore town is hopping!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pizza in the WILD

A bit of magic happened while I was on the 
Moosewatch Expedition.

One of the leaders of our group, Wayne, brought along a pizza oven that 
fit on top of our little stove!

Pizza oven on stove (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

Adding the sauce (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

Now the pepperoni (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

We all pitched in to create pizza in the wild.


Checking the crust (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

Wayne cuts the slices (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

OMG! PIZZA!! (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

The Team! Ifi, Bob, Wayne, Jason, & Me! 

(Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

Friday, June 13, 2014

Moose Bones!

My time on Isle Royale was spent in search of bones...

Many of these moose died years ago and their skeletons have become part of the island...
covered in moss and leaves....

Ancient moose skull (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

Wayne Shannon with unearthed skull (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

Our team found many bones. 

Swampy skeleton (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

Woman power! Ifi and I haul moose bones (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

Moose bones strapped to my pack (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

Our team brought back five moose skulls! (L>R: Me, Bob, Wayne, Ifi, and Jason) (Photo courtesy of Jason Duetsch {Shiras Photography})

This study has been going on for 56 years now and almost 5,000 skulls have been collected. 

Researcher's collection of moose skulls (photo courtesy of Cathy More)

Many scientific papers have been published using information  from these gathered bones.
Find links to these publications here.

And a recent article on the plight of the 
wolves on Isle Royale here.

{Thanks to my fellow hikers for these photos!}