The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Friday, July 24, 2009

Segment 8 Complete!

Segment 8 took me south from Escanaba along the edge of Green Bay to the city of Green Bay. From there I took two days cutting across land on the Door Peninsula to the city of Manitowoc. I took the Badger car ferry across Lake Michigan on the midnight crossing. It was foggy and the lake was calm, so it was like moving in a liquid dream through the night.

This segment was 155 miles total. The total for the trek now stands at 818 miles!

WKZO's morning host, Lori Moore, had me on her show today. It's always great to speak with the woman who puts the broad in broadcasting!

Don't forget to click on the hat on the sidebar to get updates and for a chance to win a Lake Trek hat.

Thanks for following my adventure.

Segment 8 Day 9 Denmark->Manitowoc 25 miles

High of 74 degrees. July 22

This final day of this segment I said goodbye (and a huge thank you) to Vickie. She dropped me back in the town of Denmark and I walked the trail, then country roads all the way to Manitowoc.

It was fantastic to finally be back on the shores of Lake Michigan. I walked my longest day this day, 25 miles, then took the midnight ferry across the lake to Ludington, Michigan. It's a 4-hour passage and the lake was calm and foggy.

A father and son were on the ferry making their way from the city of Green Bay to (of all places) Battle Creek for a baseball tournament. They gave me a lift to my home town. Thanks, guys [and if you e-mail me your mailing address, I'll send you two hats!].

Segment 8 Day 8 Green Bay->Denmark 20 miles

High of 78 degrees. July 21

The entire perimeter of Lake Michigan is around 1,400 miles (higher estimates include the distance around each of the lake's many islands). My Lake Trek route is 1,000 miles and cuts across the Door Peninsula from Green Bay to the city of Manitowoc.

This day took me halfway across the peninsula to the city of Denmark, Wisconsin. Actually, it was easier to be dropped off by Vickie in Denmark, then walk my way back to Green Bay.

There is a 'rails to trails' project in Denmark where many miles of an unused railroad have been converted into a biking/hiking trail.

The country is beautiful along this route with rolling hills and rich farmland (and at least one 'Snow White' fan).

The last photo is of one of the many paper mills along the Fox River in Green Bay. White pelicans swam in the river in this area, and they were the first I had seen around the bay or lake.

Segment 8 Day 7 Suamico->Green Bay 17 miles

High of 68 degrees. July 20

For a few days toward the end of this segment, I stayed in Green Bay and my good friend, Vickie (in second to last photo), drove me to and from my daily trekking. This meant I could carry less gear on my back and allowed me to cover more miles.

This day, I walked from the town of Suamico all the way to Green Bay. Just 4 miles into this day I reached the milestone of 750 miles total (see video below).

Segment 8 Day 6 Oconto->Suamico 22 miles

High of 70 degrees. July 19

Between the towns of Oconto and Suamico is the town of Pensaukee. There is a wildlife preserve there that I hiked through hoping to see the bay. Along the way there was much evidence of wildlife (tracks, places where deer had bedded down, snakeskins, ducks, and tiny toads). I got close to the bay, but never saw it because it was hidden by an eight-foot wall of marsh grasses.

Segment 8 Day 5 Peshtigo->Oconto 11 miles

High of 75 degrees. July 18

Near Peshtigo, they are expanding route 41. In the process they are draining or filling in thousands of acres of wetlands. This is bad news for the bay and the lake. Wetlands are a natural cleansing area for the water entering the lake. They also serve as habitat for wildlife.

The gentleman on the bike is Karl, and I met him along the way to Oconto. He knew much of the history of the area and it was fascinating to listen to him.

Segment 8 Day 4 Menominee->Peshtigo 13 miles

High of 68 degrees. July 17

This day found me crossing the Menominee River into the fourth state that touches Lake Michigan (and Green Bay): Wisconsin. Since I began my trek in Chicago and passed through Indiana, once I entered Wisconsin, I would have been in all four Lake Michigan states. Crossing the river was a moment.

Then, as I headed toward Peshtigo, the skies opened up and rained on my celebration. Since I've only had a few hours of rain during the Lake Trek (and Wisconsin is in a drought), I didn't mind the downpour.

Segment 8 Day 3 Kleinke Park camping->Menominee 18 miles

High of 72 degrees. July 16

I continued south this day and found Baily Park along the bay where I could walk along the overgrown shoreline for a nice stretch. Route 35 hugged the water for a long stretch, too. I even cooled my feet in the bay at a boat launch.

Public boat launches have been an important part of my trek around Lake Michigan. They are constant access points to and from the lake. Often I have begun my day at a launch and hiked the shore to another launch many miles away.

I made it all the way to Menominee this day, covering the last miles of Michigan along the bay.

Segment 8 Day 2 Fox Park->Kleinke Park camping 13 miles

High of 81 degrees. July 15

After breaking camp this morning (that's my hammock/tent in the trees), I continued south along Green Bay. Since I walked through some tall weeds, I made sure I wore my tan colored pants so that I could get rid of any ticks that tried to catch a ride.

The day was hot and my pack heavy, so I took my time along route 35 to the next campground.

Kleinke Park is really set up for those house-size campers that people park for the summer at campgrounds. It was comical to string up my hammock tent in between these structures, and I got a lot of questions from fellow campers about my adventure and choice of shelter.

My nearest neighbors, Doug and Julie (along with Doug's parents, Ron and Sue) invited me to join them for a grilled dinner complete with steak, roasted potatoes, stuffed squash, and salad. These Wisconsinites were very kind. They had been coming to Kleinke Park for years and told me how they used to catch their limit of perch just offshore in the bay, but now the perch were mostly gone. The invasive species, the round goby, had replaced them.

The bay and the lake are under many pressures: pollution, invasive species, habitat destruction, wetland destruction, building on the shoreline (among many others). It looks like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will probably pass both houses of Congress and next year over $400 million dollars will be put toward making the lakes healthier, their ecosystems more balanced.

Segment 8 Day 1 Escanaba->Fox Park camping 16 miles

High of 70 degrees.
July 14

After just two days off, I began hiking south from Escanaba along the edge of Green Bay. The water level in the bay (and in Lake Michigan) is still down from the high levels in the mid-1980s. This really shows on the bay shoreline. There is often a strip of sand marking the former high water mark and a wide swath of water plants growing in the muck out to the lower water level.

The summer monarchs were dying off and their offspring were munching on the milkweed plants along the way. The monarchs that will migrate to Mexico this fall are several generations removed from the ones that migrated up from Mexico this spring. Amazing.

Oh, and I found D.B. Cooper. South of Escanaba. That's all I'm saying...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pictured Rocks

Since I had two days off, Phil and I drove up to Munising and caught the Pictured Rocks cruise on Lake Superior. This was the first national lakeshore designated in the nation.

The next segment begins on Tuesday, July 14. I will hike and camp my way down the shore of Green Bay into Wisconsin. Then, for the middle part of this segment, my friend Vickie will drive me to and from the city of Green Bay to the trek.

I'll finish this segment in Manitowoc and will take the Badger ferry across the lake back home to Michigan.

I can't wait to begin the next segment.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Segment 7 Complete!

Segment 7 took me from St. Ignace in Michigan's Upper Peninsula all the way to Escanaba, June 2-11. It mapped out at 161 miles and took 10 days. This was the longest segment of the trek. I'm taking two days off in Escanaba before I head south into Wisconsin.

The total now stands at 663 miles. My Lake Trek hat is showing the miles!

Thanks for following my adventure.

Segment 7 Day 10 Top of Little Bay de Noc->Escanaba 17 mile

High of 76 degrees. July 11

On this final day of Segment 7, I walked along the top of Little Bay de Noc, then south to Escanaba. I crossed over several rivers along the way, the Whitefish River being the largest one. The town of Gladstone had a nice waterfront and even a boardwalk through part of the wetlands there.

It felt fantastic to reach Escanaba, and the last few miles I was able to stay close to the water (though on the shoulder of the road). I even saw a swan with two signets.

I'm taking two days off before heading south along Green Bay for the beginning of Segment 8.