The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

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:


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Wintery Hike

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 took a wintery training hike today, passing through the Tweddle/Treet farm in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and out to 
Lake Michigan.






Wind-sculpted snow


Snow angels along the way

 Near the lake, the snow was tinged brown with sand blown by the winter winds.






The lake has very little ice on it.
Just a few chunks along the edge, clinking together in the waves.




 I hoped to hike a loop down the nearby Empire Bluff Trail, but there were deep drifts of snow that often collapsed. I found myself post-holing up to my knees, so I hiked back the way I came.














Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Kid's Creek

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 am continuing to explore the hiking trails in and around Traverse City. Grand Traverse Conservation District works to preserve wild areas tucked amongst developed land. I've hiked several of these preserves, and this week I made it to Kids Creek Park. 


It's just a little loop, but the paved TART Trail connects to it. I ended up hiking onto the TART Trail and emerging behind Panera Bread before looping back to Kids Creek. There is signage along the trail pointing out the importance of healthy creeks and streams. 





It was a snowy day, brisk and pretty. 
The snow revealed the travels of small animals.

A small creek runs through the preserve. The ducks were enjoying the open water.






The trail is well marked. It is situated between the Great Wolf Lodge and Kohl's. 
There used to be a water mill here. It generated power for the farm that used to be here. The ruins of the mill are still on the property.




Ruins of the Old Franke Mill (the structure in foreground)












Sunday, January 5, 2020

Houdek Dunes Natural Area

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 set out on a mild, January day to explore another hiking area preserved by the Leelanau Conservancy. It is located just north of Leland. 


*Note: between this area and the town of Leland, watch for the Yak farm on the east side of the road. Yes...YAKS! 
[They weren't in the pastures today.]

 The Houdek Dunes Natural Area has several trails looping through the property and I hiked most of them. 



Trails are blazed and marked. 




Other creatures leave their marks, too.



A small stream winds between the rolling dunes.




There are many conservancy properties to explore on the Leelanau Peninsula.



Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Most Popular Post from 2019

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/






Here is the most-viewed post from 2019. Wintery photos from along Grand Traverse Bay:





Winter changes the Great Lakes.
Many people think that ice just forms on the top of the lakes, sealing the lower liquid for a time. It can do that, but it is also infinitely more creative. 

Water transforms, coats, blows, and freezes.

Below are a few photos taken on a single day along the shoreline of Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City.

Just look at what nature created:


Frozen spray locked these milkweed seeds in place


Ice balls form around grasses and reeds along the shoreline...


...then the weight of the ice snaps off the reed and the ice ball floats away


Buddy ice mounds hanging out along the bayshore


Ice volcano




Melded ice balls locked in sheet ice

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Looking Back on 2019

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/


Well, 2019 went by quickly!

I had over a dozen speaking engagements, including:
Quiet Adventure Symposium at Michigan State University
Schoolcraft College's "Coffee & Conversations" series
Many libraries and community centers




See my 2020 speaking engagements here or in the sidebar to the right.
I'm honored to be a feature speaker at Lakeside Chautauqua, and re-booked at Schoolcraft College and the Quiet Adventure Symposium.



It was my honor to lead an all-women team of hikers on a Moosewatch Expedition on Isle Royale in May (I'll do this again in 2020).



My 2019 team


And I did a lot of hiking on my own this year, exploring places I know well, 
and some trails new to me.




Trail along the Boardman River



Empire Bluff Trail


Jordan River Valley Trail


I hope you had a wonderful 2019.
Happy trails to you all in 
2020!
May you have many adventures waiting for you in this new decade.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Year-End Hike

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 was able to fit in a little hike during the holiday festivities. I headed to the lakeshore to hike one of my favorite trails, Empire Bluff.





The trail was a little snowy and icy at the bottom, but cleared off at the top. The day was mild and almost windless.






It was a little foggy, but most of it burned off while I hiked.


It was mild enough to take a break to watch the colors of Lake Michigan.

Merry Holidays to all.