The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Segment 10 Complete

Segment 10 stretched from Milwaukee to Chicago, a distance of 102 miles.

This brought the total for the Lake Trek to 1,019 miles!

The Lake Trek came full circle, but the adventure continues. I have been writing the book of my journey on breaks between segments. I will now take time to complete and revise that book, A 1,000 Mile Walk on the Beach.

The entire adventure could not be conveyed in this blog format. There is so much more to tell, and my book will be filled with encounters and places and people that would not fit here. There is also an inner journey that took place and that is also best conveyed in the pages of a book.

In November, I will be a volunteer lighthouse keeper at the Grand Traverse Lighthouse north of Traverse City on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula. I will post reports and photos of this experience.

I will also continue to blog about legislation that concerns the Great Lakes and about efforts to restore the lakes to full health. I'll also revisit the thousands of photos I took along the way and post more of them here. Of course, I'll post updates about the progress of my book and its own journey in the publishing world.

Lake Michigan continues to call me back to its shores and I'll continue to answer and report on 'my' lake. I am filled with an overwhelming sense of completion, and yet there is so much more to accomplish. The long days of walking may be complete, but the writing and reflecting still stretches before me.

So, check back here often. And thanks once again for coming along on my grand, Lake Trek adventure!

Lake Trek Celebration III

Guests of the Lake Trek Celebration stayed at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers located near Navy Pier on the Chicago River.

We had wonderful accommodations and a fabulous cake reception. I chose a chocolate cake with creme brulee filling and Godiva chocolate ganache frosting. BEST CAKE EVER.

I'd like to thank everyone who made the trip to Chicago to celebrate my '1,000 Mile Walk on the Beach.' I could not have completed this adventure without the support of family and friends.

Lake Trek Celebration I

Arrival on Navy Pier then the Lake Michigan cruise on the Kanan Cruise ship!

Thank you to friends, family and fans of Lake Michigan who gathered to celebrate with me!

Lake Trek Celebration II

Photos from the Lake Trek cruise and cake party.

Arrival on Navy Pier!

Here is a video of my arrival on Navy Pier!

Segment 10 Day 6 Evanston->Chicago! 11 miles

High of 66 degrees.

Saturday, September 26. The final day of the Lake Trek.

My sister, Leslie, and cousin, Milene, joined me in Evanston for the evening before the last day of the Lake Trek. Then, in the morning, we were joined by my son Ben and his college friends (in first photo from left: Mary, Cristie, Ben, Leslie, Milene, Becca, and Ben). Then, when we were just a couple of miles from Navy Pier, my son, Lucas, and husband, Jim, joined our group.

We had a lovely stroll into Chicago, then onto Navy Pier for the end of the Lake Trek. The final photo here is from a web cam looking out onto Navy Pier. Our group is in the foreground between the brown, square fountain and the row of trees (captured by Stephanie Lyon).

This was a fantastic day to walk. The day was hazy, so the skyline revealed itself in increments as we drew near the city. I was happy to have this group of friends and family walking with me on this final day of my trek around Lake Michigan.

1,000 Miles!

On day five of this segment, I hit the 1,000 mile mark. Here's a short video of the moment.

Independent Bookstores Visited

I had the pleasure of visiting two more independent bookstores along this segment. The quaint Lake Forest Bookstore was closed by the time I arrived in town, so I had to press my nose against the glass and just wish I could go in (sorry for the nose print on your window).

Then, in Winnetka, I stopped in at the Bookstall at Chestnut Court. This is a lovely bookstore with a fine selection of books and cards. Both stores looked like they served their communities well.

Check out the links in the sidebar!

Segment 10 Day 5 Lake Forest->Evanston 19 miles

High of 70 degrees.

Friday, September 25

Early in this day, I walked through the city of Fort Sheridan. This was an active military base for almost a century. Troops were mobilized from this base for the Spanish-American War in 1898 to Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the 1990s (and all wars in between). It is now a combination between a museum and a new development with plans to put a golf course in the open land to the north of the parade grounds. There is even a massive model of a red tail hawk's nest (see photo of me sitting on a very large egg).

Just south of Fort Sheridan, there is a fenced off area that was once a dumping site (photo through fence of grazing geese). There are signs along the way forbidding the disruption of topsoil, so there must be some pretty toxic stuff remaining there, and this land goes right up to the lake.

South of this area, I picked up the bike trail that parallels the Metra line for miles. It was nice to see so many kids riding their bikes to school in the morning. In Winnetka, I left the path and walked on Sheridan Road all the way into Evanston where I would spend the last night before finishing my Lake Trek. I was able to get down to the lake at some of the parks along the way. And, in Wilimette, the white, ornate Ba'hai Temple emerged from behind some trees, startling me with its imposing presence (last photo).

Segment 10 Day 4 Zion->Lake Forest 19 miles

High of 72 degrees.

Thursday, September 24

I began this day by hiking out to the Illinois Beach State Park. This park protects several different types of habitat including over six miles of lakeshore, and over 4,o00 acres of wetlands, prairie, dunes, and swale. I had hoped to hike the entire shoreline of this park, but the south end is a restricted nature preserve and wetland.

The beach is unique because it is bookended by the Zion Nuclear Power Plant on the north end, and a conventional coal power plant on the south. I walked through Waukegan in the middle of the day. This harbor has a toxic industrial history and is in the process of getting cleaned up.

I walked on a bike path from the Great Lakes Naval Station (an active naval base on the lakeshore), and walked it all the way into Lake Forest.