The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Great Lakes Science Center

This week I traveled to Ann Arbor to visit one of the labs doing research on the Great Lakes. I met up with Dr. Madenjian first and we talked about alewives and the salmon fishery. 

Great Lakes Science Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Dr. David "Bo" Bunnell with some of the fish collected from Lake Michigan  

Then, Dr. Bunnell (in photo above) gave me a tour of the facility and we had a long talk about his work to understand the food web in the lakes. 

The Great Lakes Science Center has been doing an annual bottom trawl survey on Lake Michigan since 1973. They have seen tremendous change in the lake over the decades. 

The most dramatic change is the colonization of the lake by invasive mussels. While zebra mussels are known to beach walkers, the quagga mussel has taken over the deeper parts of the lake and has blanketed the floor of Lake Michigan. 

The video below is from a recent survey of 
Lake Michigan.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Enbridge Oil Pipeline Rupture, 2 1/2 years after the incident

In July of 2010, an oil pipeline ruptured in Michigan spilling 1.1 million gallons of heavy crude into the Kalamazoo River.

Over two years and hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent cleaning up the river.

This was the nation's 
costliest oil pipeline accident.

Consider this:  Enbridge has a pipeline that rests at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. What if the rupture had taken place there instead of inland and contained in a river?  Would the shores of Mackinac Island still be coated in thick oil? How much of that spill would now be working its way down past Port Huron, Detroit, and into Lake Erie? 

Do you think it can't happen? Enbridge pipelines have had a dozen leaks in the state of Michigan alone since 2003. 

I walked along the river earlier this month:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Perry Victory and International Peace Memorial

During my 1000-mile hike this year, I passed many battle sites from the War of 1812.

While this conflict with the British is rather glossed over when we study American History, it was actually a pivotal moment where our young nation struggled for survival.

One of the most decisive battles took place on Lake Erie. It was the first time the British Navy was soundly beaten and all British ships engaged in the battle were seized by the Americans.

When Commodore Oliver Perry reported the win to his superiors, he wrote:

 "We have met the enemy and they are ours"

This week I visited the monument to this naval victory and the lasting peace between the US and Canada.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Last 2 Miles of a 20-Mile Day

While on my book tour, I've met many people who marvel 
at the idea of hiking 1000 miles. 

Sometimes, they ask me if it was difficult and a chuckle usually escapes from me before I can suppress it. 

You see, I'm not one of those ultra-marathoners or lifelong hikers or crazy people who have to cover 20 miles a day to feel alive. 
I feel quite alive reading a book or sitting in my 
office all day writing.

So, yes, it was difficult. Some days were downright painful. But the lakes call to me and I am happiest when walking near them.

Here's a little video shot on one of the more difficult days -- 
windy, cold, walking on the side of a road, 
18 miles down and 2 miles to go. 

And it shows how I motivated myself to hike the last 2 miles of a 20-mile day.

Yes, it was difficult. 

And, YES, it was worth every step. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Perched Dunes

The hike is complete and I am hard at work on the manuscript for the book about my adventure.

I will be posting some of the videos that I shot while on the hike over the coming weeks. 

This one gives a good look at an exposed, perched dune. 

Take a look...