The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

November Surprise

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/


This November has been surprising so far (on many levels). The weather has been amazingly warm this first 10 days. Yesterday, Traverse City broke a high temp record from 1896! And not just by a degree or two, but by 5 degrees!


So, of course, I went kayaking on that warmest day and hiked several other days.




I kayaked my favorite small lake nearby, Cedar Lake. I noticed there are more than one 'Cedar Lakes' around Traverse City. This one is just west of Long Lake, west of Traverse City.








Today, I headed to the big lake to walk the lakeshore. Since the temps were starting to dip and some rain fell, I had the entire beach to myself.
Lovely.







With the lake levels rising this year, the shoreline showed evidence of erosion.











The lake was turquoise and white-capped. Bands of rain clouds hovered over the lake in the distance. 



Still my favorite place.

 


Sunday, November 8, 2020

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Part 2)

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/



With nights in the low 30s and high 20s, we gathered around a fire some nights. April even brought along some popcorn to pop over the fire. 

YUM!






The scenery was breathtaking at times, even for those in the group who had hiked here before.








The most stunning formation in this National Lakeshore is Chapel Rock (below and in video). 
This sandstone pedestal has been separated from the shoreline by erosion, but the lone pine tree on the formation still lives there, attached to the shoreline by long roots. 
This tree is over 200 years old.









Sunday, November 1, 2020

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Part 1)

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 met up with my hiking friends and headed to America's first designated National Lakeshore,
Pictured Rocks,
along the northern edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 
Yes, it was snowy and chilly and exhilarating. 


Me, Zan, Julie and April


The Au Sable Lighthouse


Snowy campsite at Benchmark campground



There is a 12-mile stretch of beach along the lakeshore. We hiked several miles here at the edge of Lake Superior.



Lake Superior Rocks


Can you find me in this photo? 

Massive sandstone formations dominate the western portion of the lakeshore. It's difficult to get the scale of these formations until you find the person in the shot.

We hiked five days...more to come.


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Happy 50th Sleeping Bear Dunes!

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/


Sleeping Bear Dunes is celebrating 50 years as a National Lakeshore.

Today, I joined up with fellow volunteers with the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes to greet visitors at the Dune Climb. 

We masked up and offered hot chocolate and information about our wonderful lakeshore.

We met visitors from Ohio and from all over Michigan. 

The mission of the Friends group:

"Protecting resources and heightening visitor experiences in partnership with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore."






Masked up to meet visitors!


Anniversary merch can be purchased at FriendsofSleepingBear.org


Hundreds of volunteers give thousands of hours each year to improve and protect this wonderful park.


Volunteers from the Friends are involved in the following activities on a routine basis:

  • manage Adopt-A-Beach, Adopt-A-River, Adopt-A-Trail
  • manage the maintenance and Trail Ambassador program for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
  • Support the park in developing new trails
  • manage field mowing to preserve historic agricultural landscapes
  • publish 13 visitor guide booklets about the science and history of the area
  • provide housing stipend for Interns
  • provide funding for NPS project grant requests


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