The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Taking to the Water

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've had time to kayak lately, so I've taken to the water.
I joined a large group of kayakers to paddle a 10.5 mile stretch of the Boardman River. If you've been in Traverse City, you've probably seen the Boardman winding lazily through town. 
This river is over 30 miles long and its headwaters are in Kalkaska. A section of the Boardman has  class 1-3 rapids as it descends into Traverse City!
The section I paddled was from the Brown Bridge Quiet area to Beitner Road. There were only class 1 rapids on this stretch, but several miles past Beitner Road are crazy with rapids.
Here are a couple of photos from that paddle:





And here are a bunch from a paddle I took on Cedar Lake west of Traverse City:


Paddling my Advanced Elements Kayak



Is that a loon?


Yep, a loon!




Spot the turtle



Underwater...






Sunday, August 11, 2019

Whaleback Natural Area

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 moved to Traverse City three years ago to be near "my lake" (Lake Michigan) and, especially, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
While there are over a 100 miles of hiking trails within the National Lakeshore, there are many more miles of hiking in lands conserved by the Leelanau Conservancy and Grand Traverse Conservation District.
I am exploring all of these trails, trying to tick off new ones like in this previous post...(which is difficult, sometimes, because I am constantly drawn back to my favorites).

This month I vowed to hike Whaleback Natural Area just south of Leland. 
From out on the lake, this rise in the shoreline resembles a surfacing whale.


This trail is about 1.5 miles out-and-back with views of Lake Michigan along the way.

Lake Michigan with Pyramid Point in the distance


This trail passes through private land and runs adjacent to a vineyard before getting up into the wooded preserve.
There are wildflowers and patches of thimbleberry plants (surprise!). These plants are common in areas far north of here, but a patch persists this preserve.





Blazes mark the trail







Thimbleberry plants






Vineyard at beginning of trail


I continue to look for opportunities to contribute by doing trail clean-up and trail-blazing with the organizations overseeing conservation areas in the region.




Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Happy National Lighthouse 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/



August 7 is National Lighthouse Day.

This day honors the beacons that have lit the way for so many vessels on the waters around and within the U.S.

Here are just a few of the many lights I have passed on my Great Lakes Adventures:


40-Mile Point Lighthouse - Lake Huron


Fort Gratiot Lighthouse - Lake Huron (oldest in Michigan)


Point Au Barques Lighthouse - Lake Huron


Tawas Point Lighthouse - Lake Huron


Marblehead Light - Lake Erie (oldest in Great Lakes)


Charlevoix Channel Light - Lake Michigan




40-Mile Point Light (during my second hike/Lake Huron)


Big Sable Lighthouse (Lake Michigan)


Which lighthouse is YOUR favorite?
[Mine is Little Sable on Lake Michigan.]
For more info on National Lighthouse Day click HERE.







Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Head to the Lakeshore

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/




The best way to beat the heat is to head to the lakeshore...and I live very close to one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in the Great Lakes:


Today I went to one of my favorite beaches on Sleeping Bear Bay. With Lake Michigan nearing an all-time high level, the amount of beach here was reduced. 

Some sandy beach in places

Wading was a great way to beat the heat.

Enjoy these photos from today:


North Manitou Island shrouded in fog


Small waves broke on the shoreline



Sunday, July 7, 2019

Antlers! (8th 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/




The primary objective on a Moosewatch Expedition on Isle Royale is to find and gather moose bones.
But teams also gather data from the antlers moose shed every winter. 

Today, there are over 2,000 moose on the island and about half of them are bulls. Bulls grow a fresh set of antlers every year. Antlers are fast-growing and are covered in "velvet" in the spring. This covering conveys blood and nutrients to the growing bone (yes, antlers are classified as bone tissue). Once they are fully formed, moose will scrape off the velvet and get ready to spar with other males for the right to pass on their genes.

Then, at the end of the year, bull moose shed their antlers. They are scattered all over Isle Royale. This year, my team found 38 shed antlers including several matched pair.

Teams measure and mark all found antlers (Julie and Joceline)


Joceline holds a classic matched set of antlers

And April holds another pair!






Sometimes, teams find a skull with antlers still attached 

(This team was the first all-women team to hike a Moosewatch Expedition!)


Sunday, June 30, 2019

Curious Sights on Isle Royale (7th 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 hiked my fifth Moosewatch Expedition on Isle Royale. 
And this time, I was thrilled to be a team leader.

Before we hiked out of Windigo into the wild island, I told my team, "Be curious. Be observant. If you see something cool, gather the team."

There is so much to see on the island. 
Over 700 types of lichen grow there!

Check out these curious things we noticed:

This strange growth on a tree was curious...


Fungi? Extrusion of sap? Alien life form?


Enormous bracket fungi (notice foot for scale!)


The garter snakes were waking in May


HUGE burl (a deformity on a tree caused by stress or injury)


A beaver cut this tree off about 4 feet up...did they stand on each other's shoulders? Use a little ladder?? Just extremely tall beaver???


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Camp Life on Isle Royale (6th 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 hiked my fifth Moosewatch Expedition on Isle Royale. 


And this time, I was thrilled to be the leader of the first all-women team (in photo below: Joceline, April, Me, and Julie).






Our team covered 45 miles and had three basecamps for the week. Here's a glimpse into camp life on Isle Royale:

Heating water on the Solo Stove for morning coffee is the best way to wake the team!

Breakfast oatmeal fuels us of the day


Hot bevs are essential in the morning


Fun conversations happen in the camp 'kitchen'



Our last day, we hiked 11 miles and got back to camp around sundown...we ate our dinner at dusk and turned on headlamps to make pudding for dessert