Monday, April 29, 2013

A 1,000 ~ Mile Great Lakes Walk by Loreen Niewenhuis

A 1,000 Mile Great Lakes Walk: One woman’s Trek Along the Shorelines of All Five Great Lakes. Crickhollow Books, 2013 ISBN 1933987219

I have to say, that this was the most personally interesting book for me to read in a long while. I grew up in southern California and then moved here to Pennsylvania within a few miles of Lake Erie. I learned little snippets of information about Lake Erie and even less about the other lakes as the years went by. Except for my college years, I’ve lived most of the last 41 years within 10 or less miles of Lake Erie. My husband and sons (his stepsons) though were learning about the lakes while in school while I had learned about the various California missions as I grew up. So this book was my catch up. And boy did I learn a lot. Up to this point, the most important thing I knew about Lake Erie was what an unfrozen Lake Erie in winter does to us during a snow storm – ever heard of lake effect snow?

The author didn’t just skim over and give cursory bits and pieces about this walk of hers. It had been well researched before her trip and she shared that research with us in her hike. She also shared what she learned along the way as people open their lives, hearts and museums to her. She had already completed a 1000 miles walk around Lake Michigan and this walk encompassed parts of all the Lakes. She carried a huge backpack with all her needs trimmed down to the barest essentials. And lest anyone think she was a young thing that had lots of energy, for this last walk she was 48 years old. She camped out at many times including during drenching thunderstorms (obviously not by choice). . She drank the lake waters by way of filter bottles. She ate freeze dried food and chocolate and was always happy to restock or eat chocolate when she found it. She also talks about the difference between Canadian chocolate bars and those found in the States. After going to college in Canada for 4 years, I sure miss some of their chocolate creations as well!

This book I had to read with an open atlas of the areas on my lap to learn where she was, as most of her hikes took place in spots where I have never been. Her final triumphant walk took place in the Niagara Falls area and since I have been there, I could picture her very steps and where she was. This was a delightful book. I only wish it had been loaded with photos. You can see some photos and videos at her blog including a video on how to scare off bears. Our Great Lakes are precious both for the water and the minerals found near or under the lakes. This book will help you to understand the need to protect these important resources far into the future.
This book is available through independent book stores or check at the authors website for details on how to order it.

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