The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Into the Wilds (3rd in a series about Isle Royale)


Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and dynamic speaker. 

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has authored three books about these adventures. 


To learn more about her work, or to engage her as a speaker, go to 

http://www.laketrek.com/great-lakes-speaker/




This May, I was honored to lead the first organized all-women team on a Moosewatch Expedition on Isle Royale.

My team: Me, April Wilbur, Julie Timmer, Joceline Pasaylo

I have hiked on an expedition four times. This was my first time as team leader.


We cooked dinner and breakfast in camp


This island is a National Park. It is remote and wild. Teams do most of their hiking off-trail and camp in remote areas. 



The island has a mixture of trees


It's difficult to convey how wild and rugged this island is. Rock ridges run the length of the island, often rising hundreds of feet like in the photo below.


My team gives scale to this place

The hiking here is rugged. The views magnificent.


We hiked to the northern shore and had views of Lake Superior at our second camp


In May, snow and ice still persist. 


This stream still wears a cap of snow


We hiked through an area that had burned years ago along the Minong Trail.



Burn area on the Minong


We had some amazing sunsets during our week.


Sunset on the north shore




Friday, June 7, 2019

Isle Royale Boots

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and dynamic speaker. 

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has authored three books about these adventures. 


To learn more about her work, or to engage her as a speaker, go to 

http://www.laketrek.com/great-lakes-speaker/


I have hiked five Moosewatch Expeditions on Isle Royale. This island is rugged, rocky, and rugged.

My "Isle Royale boots" have served me well, but I have to retire them now. 



These KEEN boots have over 300 rocky miles on them. They're still comfortable and I'll take them on more gentle hikes.



 I have hiked over 3,000 miles in KEEN boots. 
One thing I know about long-distance hiking: you've got to keep your feet happy.


And KEENs keep my feet SOOOOO happy.
Check out their full line of footwear here:











Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Gearing Up (2nd in a series about Isle Royale)

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and dynamic speaker. 

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has authored three books about these adventures. 


To learn more about her work, or to engage her as a speaker, go to 

http://www.laketrek.com/great-lakes-speaker/




Over twenty hikers traveled to Isle Royale for the first week of Moosewatch Expeditions this May (there are four weeks of expeditions each year).
Once everyone is on the island, team leaders distribute gear and food for the week in the wild.

Teams gather to gear up 



My team (L>R) Me, April Wilbur, Julie Timmer, Joceline Pasaylo

Backpacks can weigh over 40 pounds when heading out for a week in the wild.

This year was unique because over a dozen wolves released this past winter on the island wear radio collars.
The data from these collars indicate where the wolves spend their time and where they hang out for awhile, possibly at a kill site.
These data points were distributed to teams and this year we hiked to those sites.


GPS points of interest from wolf movement on island
 


Dr. Rolf Peterson (in red hat) gives team leaders their assignments

 In my next post, I'll take you into the wilds of Isle Royale in search of moose bones.


Heating water for coffee in morning



Sunday, June 2, 2019

Getting There (1st in a series about Isle Royale)

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and dynamic speaker. 

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has authored three books about these adventures. 

To learn more about her work, or to engage her as a speaker, go to 

http://www.laketrek.com/great-lakes-speaker/



This May I led the first organized 
all-women team on a Moosewatch Expedition on Isle Royale.
Teams of hikers support the longest-running predator/prey wildlife study in the world. Scientists have been studying the interactions of wolves and moose on this isolated island for 62 years. 
Before we can hike the island and gather moose bones for the scientists to study, we must first get to there.

Ferries travel to the island from three points: Grand Portage, MN
Houghton, MI
Copper Harbor, MI

There is also a seaplane that travels from Houghton, MI to the island.


Waiting to board the Voyageur II


Voyageur II ferry docked in Grand Portage, MN

Isle Royale is a National Park and it is the least visited of all our parks. The effort it takes to get to the island is part of the reason for this.
Once travelers get to Isle Royale, they typically spend more time there than in any other park.



Riding the Voyageur II to the island

 I have about a 12 hour drive to get to Grand Portage, then a 2 hour ride on the ferry.

Several Moosewatch volunteers on the ferry

This year's Moosewatch Expedition was thrilling. I was honored to lead a team this year, a team comprised of women.
I'll blog about this fantastic time on Isle Royale all this month.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

National Indie Bookstore Day!

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and dynamic speaker. 

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has authored three books about these adventures. 


To learn more about her work, or to engage her as a speaker, go to 

http://www.laketrek.com/great-lakes-speaker/




I took a long training hike today. I'm getting ready to hike Isle Royale next month, leading a team of hikers on a Moosewatch Expedition.

After that hike, I headed into Traverse City


To celebrate National Indie Bookstore Day,
I stopped in at one of my favorite indies, Brilliant Books. I poked around a bit and bought a new novel by Miriam Toews.

They had me sign a few copies of my own books on their shelves (always a pleasure!).


Stop in at your favorite indie today, and support them all year long.

And if you think there's nothing wrong with buying books from Amazon, click on link below to read why:








Friday, April 26, 2019

Arbor Day/Earth Day

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and dynamic speaker. 

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has authored three books about these adventures. 


To learn more about her work, or to engage her as a speaker, go to 

http://www.laketrek.com/great-lakes-speaker/



With Earth Day and Arbor Day both happening this week in April, there were many volunteer projects around town.

I pitched in to help clean up a section of the 
TART trail last weekend.



Then, on Monday I joined a group at Miller Creek Nature Reserve
(part of the Grand Traverse Conservation District land) to help out...











And today (Friday) I helped plant trees along a stretch of the Boardman River.






This is part of the river where a dam was recently removed.  The Grand Traverse Conservation District will plant tens of thousands of trees this year on their land! 




Check out opportunities to volunteer in your community!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Dune Climb

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and dynamic speaker. 

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has authored three books about these adventures. 


To learn more about her work, or to engage her as a speaker, go to 

http://www.laketrek.com/great-lakes-speaker/





I recently took a training hike at The Dune Climb in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
This expanse of dunes is between Glen Lake and Lake Michigan. 

And it's beautiful.

This transition time when winter is finally relenting is a special time to hike here.
The summer crowds are still a couple of months off, and the snow is not completely gone.
Check out these photos:


Glen Lake is still covered over with ice



Wind-sculpted sand


Wind shaving away unfrozen sand



Hiking the dunes

The snow fields are full of sand that was blown during the winter. As the snow melts, the sand collects into little blobs on the surface.



Deer tracks through dune field



Manitou Islands in distance out in Lake Michigan

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring Approaches

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and dynamic speaker. 

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has authored three books about these adventures. 


To learn more about her work, or to engage her as a speaker, go to 

http://www.laketrek.com/great-lakes-speaker/




I love watching the ice recede in the spring. 
Today I walked along the shores of Lake Michigan in Leland, Michigan.

The shelf ice is stacked in places, eroding into strange shapes and bridges and icebergs.









There are places where a layer of thin ice has broken, revealing what lies beneath.







Spring approaches.










Saturday, March 16, 2019

Where it All Began...

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and dynamic speaker. 

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has authored three books about these adventures. 


To learn more about her work, or to engage her as a speaker, go to 

http://www.laketrek.com/great-lakes-speaker/





It was on this date 
TEN YEARS AGO
that I began my trek around Lake Michigan.

I am amazed that it has been a decade since this all began.

Standing on Chicago's Navy Pier for the beginning of this 1,000-mile hike, I didn't know if I could do it, had never done anything of this magnitude before. 

I would hike along the edge of my favorite place and get to know it completely...
all its many moods...




...the many creatures living along the edge of this Great Lake...


...the beauty along the way.

I arrived back in Chicago after 64 days of hiking (averaging 16 miles/day).

 And I got to celebrate with friends and family and followers of this amazing journey.
This adventure led to my first book:






It went on to be a Heartland Indie Bestseller!
[Available wherever books are sold -- support your local INDIE bookstore!]

Also available as an audiobook HERE.

This first adventure led to two more:




I have given over 200 presentations about my Great Lakes adventures! 
Learn more about me and my dynamic presentations about our magnificent Great Lakes HERE