The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wings on the Great Lakes

Swans and Egret

Many a winged creature lives near or on the Great Lakes.  

Enjoy these photos of the diverse birds along our vast, inland seas.

Swans with their young

Female swans are called "Pens," the males are "Cobs."  Their young are called "cygnets."

Common Merganser

Like mother, like daughter

Oriole enjoying oranges at Tawas Point

Bald eagle at Thompsons Harbor State Park

Yellow Warbler

Cedar Waxwing

Monday, July 23, 2012

Great Lakes Skies

Rainbow over the Au Sable River

Sci-Fi Clouds near Au Gres

Trees and Clouds Commune

Rain in the distance

Spotlights on Lake Huron

Sunset on Lake Michigan

The Sun's Corona Diffused by Clouds

Wall of clouds in Cheboygan

High Clouds, Warm Days

Sunrise on Lake Michigan near Cross Village

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Natural Resources Under the Surface of Michigan

Michigan has a wealth of natural resources that have been exploited over the last 175 years.  

A unique person in Michigan's history is Douglass Houghton.  He was an explorer, geologist, doctor, statesmen, and one of the first professors at the University of Michigan. 

Houghton was charged with exploring Michigan in the early 1800s to locate natural resources that could be used to develop and settle the state.

The old docking station for the gypsum mine

Houghton discovered a gypsum deposit south of Tawas City in 1837 and it has been mined for over a 100 years.  Gypsum was first used as a fertilizer and wall plaster, but is now mainly used to make drywall.

Current pipeline for to take gypsum to lake freighters

Cement plant and mine in Alpena

There are two sprawling cement plants that I have hiked around, one in Alpena and one in Charlevoix.  The one in Alpena (in photo above) has been operational for over 100 years and currently produces 2.5 million tons of cement each year.   

Calcite Mine in Rogers City

The largest open pit limestone mine is located in Rogers City.  I was able to get a tour of the Calcite Mine and was amazed by the scale of the operation there.  This mine celebrates its 100-year anniversary this year.  

Calcite Mine in Rogers City

Limestone has many uses from the production of steel and pharmaceuticals, it can be mixed with salt to de-ice roads in the winter, it can be boiled up with sugar beets to remove impurities. 

Trucks at the mine transport over 200 tons in each load 

Yes, that's me in the loader at Calcite Mine

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I had the great pleasure of meeting the photographer 
Kevin J. Miyazaki yesterday in Saugatuck, Michigan.  

He is making his way around Lake Michigan over two weeks.  The Haggerty Museum in Milwaukee has commissioned Miyazaki journey.  He is searching for people connected to Lake Michigan.

Kevin J. Miyazaki, Photographer

From Miyazaki's statement about the project:

When completed, I hope to have a collection of portraits which represent Lake Michigan in human terms - in the faces of people spanning its 1600 miles of shoreline - whose lives are connected and enriched by the presence of this beautiful body of water.

Some of the Portraits for the PERIMETER PROJECT

I am honored to be included in this project.

The exhibit will open at the Haggerty Museum in Milwaukee in January 2013.  

Here's the photo of me that will be included in the exhibit!

Learn more about Miyazaki's work and the Perimeter Project HERE and HERE.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Grand Marais on the Shores of Lake Superior

After a lovely family vacation on Mackinac Island, 
I headed north to the lakeshore city of GRAND MARAIS.             

I had never been to this lovely little town before and was delighted with the setting and the warm welcome extended to me and my son Ben at the 

This is the cross studded with agates that lends its name to the B&B

Lois and Jamey Fite, owners of the B&B

This B&B just celebrated its one-year anniversary!  It has a great view of the harbor (Grand Marais means "good harbor") and is walking distance to the town and beaches.   

Black Bear Suite

Amazing breakfast at the B&B!  Great fuel for our 4-day hike!!

If you're heading into Michigan's UP, put Grand Marais and the Agate Cross B&B on the top of your list!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Milkweed Along the Lakeshore

Milkweed budding out

One benefit of hiking over a long period is that I have observed the progression of spring to summer with each step.  

One of the intriguing plants that grows along the edges of our Great Lakes is milkweed.  

It is rather unassuming as it pushes its leaves up and out of the sandy soil, but then buds form and finally burst into a globe of little five-pointed flowers.  

Many insects are drawn to milkweed, and some of them will fall prey to this hungry spider.

When they finally come into full bloom, the flowers give off a sweet and lively scent, drawing all sorts of creatures to the plant for life-giving nectar.  

The life cycle of the monarch butterfly is tied to milkweed.  The eggs they lay there hatch into caterpillars and these caterpillars feed exclusively on the milkweed leaves.  The "milk" of the plant is acidic and toxic to many creatures.  By feasting on the milkweed, the caterpillar and the butterfly it transforms into do not taste very good.  Most predators will avoid eating the monarch because of this.  


Friday, July 6, 2012

Bugs along the Lakeshore

Enjoy these photos of bugs along 
the lakeshore:

Sunlight through a Dragonfly wing


Swallowtail butterfly

Mayflies in Alpena

Millipede near Lake Huron

Moth at 40-mile Point Lighthouse

Good hunting for spiders along the lakeshore

Gorgeous moth near Cheboygan

Dragonfly resting among the needles

Dragonfly in grasses along the lakeshore

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Wild Bouquet


The lakeshores of our Great Lakes burst with life.

Enjoy these flowers from my 1000-mile hike.  

Tough Life!

Blue Bells on the Lakeshore

Paintbrush Flower

Raindrops on a Wild Lily

The Temperate Orchid:  Lady's Slipper

Yellow Lady's Slipper