The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

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.



Sunday, December 1, 2019

Kettles Trail

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/




Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has almost 100 miles of designated hiking trails (details here). 
A new trail recently opened in the park:


Trail Description: The trail is 3.0 miles long; the first 1,000 feet of trail is universally accessible with compacted crushed stone surface. The rest of the trail is compacted earth.

The Kettles Trail has some significant slopes through kettle moraine terrain with steep hills,  valleys, and ponds or bogs. 
...The overall typical trail grade is 10%; the maximum grade is 21%.

I hiked it just as the leaves were beginning to fall.
Here are some highlights:





















Location and more info HERE.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Swanson Nature Preserve

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 Leelanau Conservancy has preserved some wonderful tracts of land on the Leelanau Peninsula. 
I recently hiked the Swanson Preserve. It is a slice of land that runs from M22 to the shoreline of Little Traverse Lake.




The hike is short, but lovely. It winds through a cedar swamp and over a little stream. Boardwalks lifted me over the wetter parts.
Over 200 varieties of plants have been identified here, and the conservancy has a wildflower rescue program where plants are potted and sold in the spring to help support the work of the conservancy.
Here are some photos:









Trails are blazed




The pileated woodpecker has done some work here




Some trees couldn't hold on during a big blow




Woodpecker tracks on birch bark









Little Traverse Lake











Exoskeleton left behind









It's a short, worthwhile hike. There's even a bench along the little lake to take a moment to watch the light play on the water.