The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Kayaking Artubus Lake

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

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile journeys 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 continue to explore the many inland lakes near me. This network of dozens of lakes funnel water into nearby Lake Michigan.
This week, I paddled the multi-lobed Artubus Lake southeast of Traverse City.

There, I saw some of the largest snapping turtles I've ever seen.








It was a gorgeous day for a paddle.



These lakes are full of life and they funnel clean water into the Great Lakes.














Sunday, June 28, 2020

Kayaking Lime Lake

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

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile journeys 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've been exploring more of the many inland lakes that connect to Lake Michigan. This week, I paddled Lime Lake in Maple City just west of Traverse City.
This lake is about a mile across and has a shallow shelf along the edge that extends inward from the edge for a long way. This made for a calm paddle.

Here are some photos:

Freshwater shellfish live in these shallow areas.




Looking north across the lake.


Some old cedars blown down by mighty winds.






Evidence of an old sawmill gathered at the southern end.






Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Kayaking Cedar Lake

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

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile journeys 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/




The entire state of Michigan (both upper and lower peninsulas) are in the Great Lakes Basin. This means that every bit of flowing water you see in Michigan is heading to one of four Great lakes (Michigan, Superior, Huron or Erie). 
Check out this map of the Great Lakes watershed:



This is unique. All of the other Great Lakes states and provinces bordering the lakes have only a portion of their lands draining into the lakes. 

Illinois and Indiana have very narrow bands of their state that drain into Lake Michigan, just those portions right along the western and southern edges of the lake. The majority of both of these states drain into the Mississippi watershed. 

I often kayak some of the interior waters of Michigan. One of my favorite small lakes is Cedar Lake. There are always loons there. Little creeks flow into the lake and then flow out to connected lakes. These waters eventually find their way to Lake Michigan.

Enjoy Cedar Lake (west of Traverse City) 
with me:














Remember, these waters are on a journey.




Friday, June 5, 2020

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Adopt-A-Trail

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

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile journeys 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 live near the gorgeous Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. I often hike the beaches and trails in the park.
So, I decided to volunteer as an Adopt-A-Trail hiker with the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes.

This all-volunteer group coordinates with the national lakeshore to keep this park safe and wonderful for all visitors.
Last year, over 13,000 volunteer hours were logged in the park.

There are many ways to volunteer with this group including:
Since I'm a devoted hiker, I chose to 
Adopt-A-Trail. My Farms Trail is part of the Bay View Trail. This looping trail also has a cut-through trail (Ridge Trail) with a gorgeous overlook out on Sleeping Bear Bay and the Manitou Islands. The trail winds through forest and farm lands. 

Check out these photos:


The sandy trail goes through mixed forest




Peaking through the trees out onto the lake


Massive white pine along the ridge



The trail skirts historic farmland




Massive tree along the trail


View from the lookout on the Ridge Trail

Volunteers wear orange vests while in the park



There's even a bench at the overlook



Strawberries in bloom along the trail

Adopt-A-Trail volunteers are asked to hike their trail once a month from May-September and report on trail conditions.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Shoreline Walk of Art Sculpture Gallery

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

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile journeys 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/





Years ago, I visited the Michigan Legacy Art Park at Crystal Mountain in northern Michigan. 
Recently, I learned there was another art park in Elk Rapids. And this one is on the shoreline of East Grand Traverse Bay.

This 15-acre park has looping trails along the shoreline and is dotted with 35 sculptures.
Check out the photos:






With the rising lake levels, one of the sculptures, "Becca Triumphs" by Ann Gildner of Cheboygan, has had the base eroded away by waves. It is now tethered to a tree to keep it from being swept away.





So far, "Becca Triumphs" holds a place on the edge of the water. It remains to be seen if Becca will ultimately triumph without being relocated inland a bit.


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Rising Great Lakes

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

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile journeys 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 got out to the Lake Michigan shoreline today. I went to one of my favorite beaches. It has a 50-step set of wooden steps to get down to the shoreline. The steps are well away from the rising lake, but recent windstorms allowed the waves to ruin the bottom few steps:



The wild waves deposited driftwood all over the beach...



and even this uprooted tree was tossed on the shore.



With the missing steps, I was the only one on this beach for over an hour. Perfect for social distancing. Stay safe, everyone.




Sunday, April 19, 2020

Clay Cliffs

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

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile journeys 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 hit the trail today. 
It was lovely to get out to the lakeshore and get a few miles under my boots.
With Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore closed at this time (people were not social distancing on popular trails there), I hiked Clay Cliffs Natural Area on the Leelanau Peninsula. This land is protected as part of the Leelanau Conservancy.

This video is the view from the overlook on this trail. The Manitou Islands are in the distance.


Wild leeks were pushing up along the trail...




Downed trees were carved by beetles...




This is a nice loop trail to explore just north of Leland.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Waning Ice on the Shores of Lake Michigan

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

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile journeys 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/




There was very little ice on the surface of the Great Lakes this winter. 
And now, in late March, the only ice I saw on my lakeshore walk today (with social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic) 
persisted on trees and roots that had been splashed by waves.

The result was sculptural...







jagged...


and told the story of wind and waves.



In this time of necessary isolation, it was lovely to wave to passing lakeshore strollers, to give a smile, to remember that we are in this together.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Black Sands

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

She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile journeys 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 hiked part of Sleeping Bear Dunes lakeshore today at Glen Haven.




The beaches of 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.



Today, I came across the largest deposit of magnetite I've ever seen along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. A long section of black sand on the beach.




Wave action has been strong along the lakeshore this winter, and the lake level set an all-time high earlier this year. This has led to increased amounts of magnetite deposited on the shoreline.

Watch the video below to see how deep the deposit was:








Yes, this mineral has been on the beaches for a long time. Here's a post I did about these black sands over a decade ago: