Saturday, October 31, 2009

Isle Royale in Lake Superior

Greenstones, Wolves, Moose and Thimbleberries

On the map, Isle Royale looks like the eye in the wolf’s head shape of Lake Superior, with Duluth its snout and the Keweenaw Peninsula its mouth. It is precious since there are few places left on this planet that have been preserved like this. It is unique; some of the oldest rocks on this planet form Isle Royale, its plants and animals and minerals. There are copper mining pits on the Island where native Americans dug rich veins of copper long ago.

When I think of Isle Royale, I think of Eden, a place away from cars and the noise of machinery. There is no traffic on Isle Royale; only hiking trails. The sounds of Isle Royale are of bugling moose, the silvery songs of northern songbirds, the lapping of waves on rocks and the quavering voices of loons. Sometimes there is the slap of a beaver’s tail. The resident pack of wolves is elusive and seldom seen. We did not hear them at all.

My husband and I hiked the trails there and I’ll never forget the thimbleberries higher than our heads along a trail. We picked the large berries like none other I have ever tasted, copper color, tangy and delicious.

We found greenstones, Michigan’s semi-precious stone. We stayed on Isle Royale for a week and every day we took a different hiking trail. We watched a diving duck teaching her young to dive. We saw a fox near its den, and had a close encounter with a moose. As we hiked, my husband Norm said, “I smell a moose.” I didn’t believe him, but as we came around the bend, there it was, bigger than life, standing athwart our trail. We kept a respectful distance and it casually strolled off.

We did not fish, but the rocks off of the island are the place where the Isle Royale redfin lake trout spawn as they have for millennia. This is an endemic species and its good to know it is still returning to Isle Royale every year before returning to the depths of Lake Superior.

Read more about this in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes on,

Also published on the Great Lakes Town Hall, a website about the Great Lakes

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Here are a few friends of mine at the port of Ludington.  We strolled around the charming park with its sculpture of a sea captain--very appropriate. We stopped at the House of Flavors downtown for lunch. We had just visited Ludington State Park and witnessed salmon leaping the dam and the beautiful fall colors.  We saw geese and swans and a few ducks.

Friday, October 23, 2009  Here is a link to my books and their reviews.

Below is a link to my website with many Great Lakes poems.  I have written two books of poetry and one non-fiction pictured below.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Great Lakes are America's freshwater seas. They support an array of life in and around their waters: people, plants, fish, birds and mammals such as otters, deer, bears, and rarely cougars and wolverines. Many species of life make the Great Lakes ecosystems unique and precious. Water is life.

Recently I took a walk in Ludington, Michigan and saw salmon leaping the dam, Lake Michigan, ducks, geese, and swans.  The colors of autumn are reaching their peak.

Read about Great Lakes ecosystems in The Dynamic Great Lakes

available at,, and many independent bookstores in Michigan such as Schulers Books and Music, The Bookman, Hostetters, Northern Lights in Duluth, MN and many other fine bookstores.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Great Lakes Podcasts

  Here is a link to my podcast about the ever changing Great Lakes.  Also on the H2O podcast is information from Dave Dempsey.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Freshwater Seas

The Great Lakes are really freshwater seas.  They contain about 18% of the fresh surface water in the U.S.  and can be treacherous for boaters and swimmers who underestimate their power.

Right now fish are migrating toward their spawning places in the lakes and in tributary streams.  Pacific salmon that were planted in the Great Lakes will die after they spawn.  Lake trout, a native species will continue to live after they spawn.

For more information about the Great Lakes and their biota, read my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes, available at, Amazon, and many independent bookstores.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I painted this autumn scene at the Gillette Nature Center on Lake Michigan.  This is a great place to hike and to learn about dune ecology.

The Center was named for Genevive Gillette who found places to develop as state parks in Michigan and worked to make them happen.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Findings Under Lake Huron

Here is a link to a new discovery on the bottom of Lake Huron. There are mysteries in these lakes that are still being discovered.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This map shows the watersheds of the Great Lakes.  The waters of the Great Lakes flow into them through groundwater and tributaries of the United States and Canada.

Water never stops to show a passport.

Read more about the Great Lakes fresh water system in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes.