The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Trails

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 have enjoyed being an Adopt-A-Trail volunteer this year for the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Each month (April thru September), volunteers hike their assigned trail and report on any downed trees, pick up trash, and greet visitors on the trail.

My trail is the Farms Trail which is part of the Bay View series of trails.



It has been wonderful to see this trail in three seasons. This month, the leaves were beginning to change and the old apple trees on the trail were laden with fruit. 
Did you know you can forage in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore? 
Yep. 
It's perfectly fine to pick a few apples along the way.












I usually head to the lakeshore after my hike. This time, the lake was calm and lovely.







Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Revisiting 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/





One of my favorite places to kayak is Cedar Lake just west of Traverse City.








Loons nest there, so by returning to paddle the little lake I get to see them keeping the eggs warm, swimming with young chicks, then watching them feed the chicks as they get as large as the adults. 



And there are many turtles there. 

This one is a particular friend:


And lots of frogs, but they were too busy to pose for photos.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Mammals of Isle Royale

 

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/





While the moose and wolves on Isle Royale capture  most of the attention of visitors, there are other creatures living there.

If we exclude bats, there are only 11 mammals on the island:

moose, wolves, beaver, muskrat, otter, fox, short-tailed weasel, red squirrel, deer mouse, snowshoe rabbit, marten


Pretty sure this is an otter (above and video below)





Master engineer, the beaver.



The most vocal resident on the island, the red squirrel.



Me and my hiking pals (April, Zan and Julie)


We found this recently killed bunny along the trail. Note the blood on the leaf.


We didn't see any fox this year, though they left scat along many of the trails we hiked.




Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Wolves & Moose of Isle Royale

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/





My recent week hiking on Isle Royale was wonderful. While the famous wildlife study based there had been paused this year, the island opened to hikers arriving by float plane and private boaters in late June.


I joined some friends to hike the island and we saw several live moose, saw some moose bones, and came across many wolf tracks...including those of pups.





Wolf pup track (left) and adult (right)

[dollar for scale]





Female cow moose


Moose!

A grand bull moose in the woods:




And moose bones:





Zan and Julie discuss kill

April, casual in field of bones


This moose had two broken ribs that had healed in the past







Thursday, August 20, 2020

Isle Royale 2020

 

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/





In this year of quarantine and shut downs, the longest-running wildlife study was also paused. Moosewatch volunteers usually gather in May, June and August to hike Isle Royale under the direction of scientists to find and gather moose bones for study.

I've hiked this expedition five times, and last year was the leader of the first all-women team. My team was already set to hike in May when the pause button was pressed on just about everything.

And, yes, in the scheme of things, this was a small thing to cancel. Lives -- too many lives -- have been lost due to the mismanagement of the response to the pandemic. Jobs have been lost. Lives disrupted. 

When Isle Royale National Park announced they would be opening for seaplanes and private boats in late July, I took the opportunity to schedule some time there with friends from Moosewatch. 

It was an opportunity to be immersed in nature, to unplug from the news, to recenter myself.

Here are a few photos from Isle Royale 2020:


After hiking 50 miles (L>R Me, Julie, Zan, April)


Blueberries on the Greenstone Ridge


View from tower on Mt. Ojibway


On tower (Zan, April, Julie)


Sunrise, Moskey Basin


Adult and pup wolf tracks (dollar bill for scale)


Butterflies


Thimbleberries


ground squirrel


why they're called thimbleberries


Sunset, Lake Richie


Lake Richie, like a mirror


Merganser with chicks









Saturday, August 8, 2020

Between the 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 continue to paddle the inland lakes in the Traverse City area. These lakes funnel water to nearby Lake Michigan. The health of these smaller lakes impacts the health of our Great Lakes.


This week I paddled Green Lake and nearby Duck Lake. In between these lakes is Interlochen Center for the Arts and Interlochen State park. 

'Interlochen' means 'between the lakes.'



These two lakes are quite large and semi-developed along the edge. 

There is plenty of room for loons and ducks to paddle, for blue heron to fish along the edges and for turtles to paddle the depths.


Here are some photos: