63: The Pull of a Long Hike

While Stuart is on vacation, we re-air this early 2020 talk with author and adventurer Loreen Niewenhuis about walking around the Great Lakes. How do you do it? One step at a time. Why do you do it? Well, that’s more complicated.

This is an automated transcript, we apologize for any errors. If you notice any problems, please email the show at teachmeaboutthegreatlakes@gmail.com. Thank you.

Stuart Carlton 0:00
teach me about the Great Lakes. Teach me about the Great Lakes John. Welcome back to teach me about the Great Lakes a twice monthly podcast in which I A Great Lakes novice ask people who are smarter and harder working than I am to teach me all about the Great Lakes. My name is Stuart Carlton and I am on vacation. That's right, I'm taking the first significant vacation that I've had since 2019, which for those of you scoring at home, is before we started recording teach me about the Great Lakes. It's been that long, mainly thanks to COVID and in all honesty, but still it's been a bit so I'm taking a few days actually a few weeks and I am enjoying it. Which means that even though he had planned to record something in advance, those plans kind of fell through and the recording didn't happen. So instead, we're going to re air one of our very first episodes where this is actually a re air of Episode Three, it would have to be the perfect rock. We released this in February of 2020. And we actually recorded it in December of 2019. So this is pre COVID And this is an interview with author and adventurer Laurie Nuun hice. And what was interesting about this a few things I remember from this episode one since this is so early, this is before we even add vocals to the theme song I don't remember when I added the vocals but we didn't have them them it was just the just the stupid duty or BB bat doo doo doo doo doo dee dee. Course no Charles even no jazz, no jazz hands. So this would not have won a Leakey. But anyway, I added those later, and they kind of related there's no interstitial music. I hadn't started doing that yet that came with COVID. Right. So I had some beatboxing recordings that I put in there. It wasn't till COVID When I was sitting around the house all day, and I was like, let me just record some interstitial music to really muck up the podcast. So this was before that. I was before the two questions at the end, I think. Anyway, so it's a real early version of the podcast. And that's kind of cool. And the other thing I remember is Loreen was the first person we interviewed. Again, this was episode three. She was the first person that we interviewed, who was really professional. You know, she had been on NPR before and was used to being interviewed. And of course, as an author, she's fairly well spoken. Very well spoken, excuse me, but she's able to speak well extemporaneously, and off the cuff is what I mean, which is not a skill that everybody has myself included. And so hope and I both got really outclassed by her, I think and that's okay, we're happy to get out class. In fact, we want to get outclassed by our guests. Although we would like to slowly improve over time, I suppose. You can listen to this one, and you'll be the judge. And the other thing that I think is interesting is is at one point, toward the end of the interview, she begins to talk about carrying a moose head for science. And we'll we'll get into that I think later in the interview. But if you look at our very cool podcast artwork by the very cool Joel Davenport, you can see the moose head or the moose skull on that rather. And so that's the origin of that little feature of our podcast art. I think that's about it. So I hope you are having a good end of summer. We should be back with a full episode in a couple of weeks if everything goes well. And in between now and then of course, keep grading those links.

Welcome back to teach me about the Great Lakes a podcast in which I get people who are smarter than I am to teach me about the Great Lakes. My name is Stuart Carlton. I'm Assistant Director at Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and with me as always is communications coordinator. Oh charters.

Hope Charters 3:48
Oh, hey, Stuart.

Stuart Carlton 3:51
How are you today?

Hope Charters 3:52
I am doing fantastic and I'm super excited to hear from our interviewee today.

Stuart Carlton 3:57
I'm really excited to because what we have this week is some a woman Her name is her name is Laureen new and hice. And she decided to walk around Lake Michigan. And I don't mean walk around near Lake Michigan. I don't mean walk around in a circle in front of Lake Michigan. I don't mean walk around in Lake Michigan. I mean literally walk around Lake Michigan, and she did this on purpose. And she has some really interesting things to say about the poetry of hiking around a lake and so I'm very excited for this interview. I to actually thought about hiking along way when I was younger my good friend Paul admins who is not listening to this but if you are Hello Paul and I we decided that we were going to hike the Appalachian Trail while singing the song lengthwise by fish for the entire time accepting of course, sleeping and there were some details that maybe we hadn't worked out yet. We thought that would be really good. It's a two line song It's its own particularly You're a bit of genius, which is when you're there, I sleep lengthwise and when you're gone I sleep diagonal in my bed, which is true. So we've only seen that for however long it takes to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. And there were several problems with that. Number one being that that would be annoying. And number two being the part about through hiking the Appalachian Trail. So we're kind of over two on that one

Hope Charters 5:24
yet it kind of reminds me of it's a small world after all, just playing over and over again at Disney World and it drives you crazy.

Stuart Carlton 5:30
Yes, yes, it's like that, but I am much less profitable than Disney World. Yeah, so what about you, you have any sort of unusual, have you gone on like a majorly long hike, or maybe you've been like,

Hope Charters 5:43
I enjoy you know, the hour to three hour hikes here. And there. When I was in Ecuador, one time, we went down to like Keela Tola, which is actually in a volcanic crater. So about 600 years ago, I think the volcano erupted, left a crater in the earth, and then it became a lake at the bottom. And so we hiked all the way down, which is very steep. And then I didn't think about it when we were going down. But obviously you have to get back up. So I think I made it about halfway up. And then I caught a mule and, you know, rented a mule for the last week.

Stuart Carlton 6:18
That's really good. My, my, my daughter, when she was just about two years old, we were leaving Gainesville, Florida where I got my PhD. And there's a state park there. What's it called Devil's meal hopper. And it has several 100 stairs down into like this, I don't know Gulch or gully or whatever it is. And she was pretty good at walking at that point and walked down every single stair, and we got to the bottom. And she looked up. And she looked at me. And I looked at

Hope Charters 6:48
a piggyback ride from there.

Stuart Carlton 6:51
And we walked up several 100 stairs, and he carrying her. And that is the extent of my stamina is that and even then it was spurred on by lots of whining and complaining. So anyway, we're excited to get to the interview. But before we do a little bit of housekeeping the things that I always forget. Number one, don't forget to like or subscribe, review the show. So if you're in Apple thing, click on the review thing and give us five stars or, or four stars. If you're in another podcast thing, do the same and write us the reviews subscribe. Because that's really important to helping us to grow the show, there's been a great response to our first couple of episodes, which I've definitely gotten because we're not recording this before we released the second episode. And but there has been a really good response. And we want as many people as possible to learn as much as possible about the Great Lakes. So please make sure you take those steps. If you have any feedback, go ahead and find us on Twitter at what does it teach Great Lakes. If you have any questions, any feedback? Maybe you have a question about the Great Lakes that great lakes that you would like to have answered, we can find some experts to answer it because everybody who is anybody wants to appear on the show and everybody who's anybody wants to have a question answered. And maybe that includes you. So reach out to us on social media that way. And with that, let's go ahead and bring on Laurie new and hice and hear what she has to say, doo doo, doo doo doo doo doo, Tang, tang, tang Tang. And so our guest today is Laureen new and hice. And she is I don't even know how to explain what she is. I mean, she's an author. She's an adventurer, she's a speaker. But the rural the things she writes about are somewhat unusual and fits in with our theme of unusual persistence. Laureen has walked around Lake Michigan. And if that's not enough, she's also walked 1000 miles around other great lakes and then 1000 miles around islands, is that right?

Loreen Niewenhuis 9:04
The Island Adventure was hiking, biking and boating. So it was it was a little different from the first two which were just 1000 mile hikes.

Stuart Carlton 9:12
It's like a nice, maybe a little more relaxed version of a triathlon except for the 1000 mile Park. So that's actually when we plug the book The most recent book is 1000 mile Great Lakes Island Adventure, and you can find more about her books and her adventures at WWW dot Lake trek.com trek spelled like an adventure or like Star Trek. Alright, learning I think the first question that people have and I'm sure you've gotten a lot is it really is just a one word question. And that question is why?

Loreen Niewenhuis 9:47
Yeah, I do get that one a lot. I reached a point in my life where I had a bit of a midlife crisis and I needed to take on a very big challenge. Something so large, I wasn't even sure I could finish it and I To my favorite place, which is always been like Michigan, and I decided to get to know it step by step and record it in my muscles and bones by walking all the way around it. So I got to know my favorite place intimately like that.

Stuart Carlton 10:14
And so how does one start to walk around like Michigan?

Loreen Niewenhuis 10:18
Well, I had never done 1000 mile hike before, let me just say that. So it sounded a little insane to even talk about it. So I decided to break it up into 10 segments. And to spread it out over seven months that allowed me to just focus on the first five days and just getting through that chunk of it. And I also wanted to see the lake in all four seasons. So I began at the end of winter, and I ended in the beginning of fall. So I saw the many moods of Lake Michigan. So

Stuart Carlton 10:48
the many moods of Lake Michigan, how would you describe those moods? Exactly? Is it angry at times, is it calm?

Loreen Niewenhuis 10:56
Yet it runs the whole gamut. There was one storm that blew in, and it dropped five inches of snow inland, and it turned the lake into just this raging monster, they were five foot tall, curling crashing waves. And the winds were still still sustained at about 40 miles an hour. And it was so loud that I had my son, I told both my sons I get three days of your spring break, you're hiking with some my youngest son Lucas was with me. And it was so loud between the wind and the waves that even if we were standing shoulder to shoulder, we couldn't hear each other talk, even if we were yelling, so we had to resort to hand signals, you know, like stop, I need a drink of water or he kept giving me the signal like Mom, you're crazy. Why are we here?

Stuart Carlton 11:43
I think my kids would give me a certain hand signal if I so you got your son's with you for three days each, right? And the rest of the time was it just random companions, or

Loreen Niewenhuis 11:56
about 80% was a solo hike. And that's how it was conceived when I first thought about doing it. But then people started emailing me like you're gonna walk by my house. So you're walking through my town, I want to walk with you. So I did coordinate with complete strangers to walk with them for a few hours just to hear their stories of the lake. And people like my sister and my cousin insisted on walking with me. So that was lovely that people wanted to be part of this adventure into and to partake in that a little bit. That was lovely.

Hope Charters 12:28
Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah, who doesn't want to be a part of a cool experience? Like, right? Yeah.

Stuart Carlton 12:33
So how do people find you This was so this, this was a bit ago, but not super long ago was this the social media thing was a Facebook or

Loreen Niewenhuis 12:41
social media and I started getting a lot of media coverage. Just as I would walk around the lake, reporters would come out and interview me and some would even walk with me a little bit. So people started hearing about my adventure and join and wanted to join me.

Stuart Carlton 12:54
And so and so you were doing social media tweeting your walk or Facebook in your walk? Was it? Did you have like GPS as to? Or how did you find your way around Lake Michigan or on each other tracks?

Hope Charters 13:07
Couldn't you just follow the water,

Stuart Carlton 13:10
water and turn left?

Loreen Niewenhuis 13:12
Lake Michigan was pretty easy, especially the west side of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan because it's almost 95% sandy beach, at least it was back then the lake level was much lower. So as long as the lake was on my left side, I was good. But I did have a GPS with me to measure my miles each day. And also in case I had to navigate around things like a power plant or a water intake or a sewage treatment plant. And they're even some, like limestone mines along some of the lake. So these were things that were very easy to see on satellite images. So I would make note of where they were, and then you know, I'd have to safely navigate around them and then get back to the shoreline.

Hope Charters 13:52
So did you take like a paper map with you too, just in case you lost GPS signal or something, I don't know how GPS works

Loreen Niewenhuis 14:00
on GPS, you wouldn't lose the signal unless they were really thick, low clouds and it bounced it around. Otherwise, it's like a satellite phone in that it always connects to satellite. So I didn't take Well, occasionally I would take a paper map if there were a couple structures I wanted, you know, to know the roads around them to in order to navigate around them. But most of the time, I just relied on my GPS.

Stuart Carlton 14:22
So my old one is exciting. My old two is exciting. Mile three is is exciting. My old seven or eight is kind of maybe exciting, but you're starting to get tired. But what about like four days into it or three days into it? Where this really starts to seem like a you know, a bear, right? Where the enormity comes to where you ever almost like overwhelmed by your task.

Loreen Niewenhuis 14:46
At times, especially early on on the first hike I was because it's very difficult to train for that sort of, you know, I'm on sand dunes one day then I'm on a sidewalk then I'm on rocks. So there was a bit of just old We're all fatigue and soreness for that first hike. Yeah. But as I got into the hike, you know, around 400 miles in, there was there was a very strange thing that happened. Once I was attuned to walking along the Lakeshore, I got the sense that the world was turning beneath me like it was almost effortless. And I could just really connect with the water and with nature, and just with the flow of the hike, and that was really a gift from this, this first

Stuart Carlton 15:28
adventure. That almost becomes meditative, meditative after

Loreen Niewenhuis 15:31
a while. Definitely.

Hope Charters 15:32
That's definitely what just came to my mind too. Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah.

Stuart Carlton 15:36
So in that way, maybe it's a benefit that you didn't have other people with you. Because you can really feel the world under your feet.

Loreen Niewenhuis 15:42
Yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah. My cousin especially is very chatty. So when she was with me, I'm like, let's just listen for a minute.

Stuart Carlton 15:53
I'm reminded of, there's another author named Bill Bryson, who wrote a book on hiking the Appalachian Trail. I love him. Yeah. And a wonderful, wonderful book. But but after a while, the relationship between the two hikers got a little bit strained, I think. And so it's, it's Bill Bryson, it was committed to read about it being strained. Yes. Yeah. So maybe, maybe there's something to the being alone. But still, I would think there's got to be some loneliness that kicks in now.

Loreen Niewenhuis 16:20
Uh, you know, I was reading so much about the lakes. So while I was hiking, I was able to think about all that information and to connect it with what I was seeing. And I enjoyed having those long, connected thoughts. We don't have that empty space in our lives as much. So you know, we have computers and phones ringing and we have to run here and there. So to have those unbroken chunks of time moving with the lake, and to connect all the information that I had read and I was seeing it was it was wonderful to be able to consolidate it that way.

Hope Charters 16:59
What else did you take with you? Because like, I have a hard enough time packing for trips where I get to take a bag of luggage. So how do you decide what to take? And what are the essentials? And then what kind of emergency things did you take?

Loreen Niewenhuis 17:15
Well, when you're carrying everything on your back, it'd be much more critical about what about what you're carrying. And people always ask me did you pick up rocks, so that was like, sometimes I had 40 pounds of my back, so it had to be the perfect rock. But you know, I just really had the basics. In my backpack, I would always have rain gear, I would always have chocolate because I get a little grumpy without chocolate. If I if I was on a segment where I was going to do some camping that I would have all my camping gear. But I really kept it all to a bare minimum. And for the most part around Lake Michigan. There are little there were little places to resupply, so I didn't have to carry 10 days of food or five days of food. You know, I could carry two days of food and resupply as I walked through a small town. So that made it that made it a little easier.

Hope Charters 18:03
Yeah, that's nice. And how many days did you say it took you to get all the way around?

Loreen Niewenhuis 18:07
Lake Michigan was 64 days I average 16 miles a day on that hike?

Hope Charters 18:13
What kind of shoes did you wear? That's one question. Before we talk to you, I was like, I just want to know what kind of shoes show

Loreen Niewenhuis 18:19
I always wear Keynes I love Keynes. They have a really good toolbox. So you're told and I you don't have to break them in. They're generally soft enough that you can just just get out there after a day or so and do a very long hike. So yeah.

Stuart Carlton 18:48
And did you find yourself interacting with strangers a lot on the hike? Or Or like do people ask you about this outside of the social media context?

Loreen Niewenhuis 18:56
Sure. Yeah, I would greet people along the way and have conversations. One guy in Wisconsin as I was making my way south to Chicago, he looked at my backpack. He goes, What are you doing walking to Chicago? I said, Yes.

Stuart Carlton 19:10
That's the best answer to that question. Yeah. The old Mad Magazine snappy answers the stupid questions. Right. Yeah. So here's a question. So you've walked around, and this is just like Michigan, and you've also done 2000 Other miles of traveling that you've talked about, right? And so real chance to see the lakes through the seasons, a real chance to see the lakes, you know, over time and through geography. What if what what does that teach you on that sort of micro small scale? That might not be obvious when you like fly over the lakes or when you ride by in a car or something like that?

Loreen Niewenhuis 19:51
I think the biggest thing I learned and I learned this on the first hike just around Lake Michigan, but it holds true for all the good lakes is that you geology determines access. So like the west side of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, almost all sandy beach. So people in Michigan connect with the beaches of Lake Michigan, they connect to that access, they throw themselves in the lake. But if you go up to Wisconsin, there's very little access like that there are large earthen hills that are constantly sloughing off into the lake. So there's a lot of debris in the lake. There's very little sandy beach along Wisconsin. So people in Wisconsin, even though they're living on the city's shores of the same great lakes have a very different relationship to it. They go inland for recreation, and they don't really think about Lake Michigan. And that was shocking to me because Lake Michigan is such an like a daily part, especially with people who live along the lake shore, it's there it's it's, it's changed, it changes the you can see the weather coming, picks up all this moisture. And you know, you'll get a lot of snow on the western side of Michigan, whereas, you know, Wisconsin will be colder, but they won't get the snow at all comes over to Michigan. So that access determines how people think about and connect to the lakes. Lake Erie has a lot of marsh along the edges. Again, there's very little sandy beach, so it's a boaters lake, there are more fish in Lake Erie than in the other lakes. So boaters have a very different connection to that body of water than people who are swimming and sailing and connecting with it in a different way.

Stuart Carlton 21:36
That's fascinating. Before I came here, I was a Texas event. And we've always talked about how Texas is a coastal state. But the people don't think of it as a state with a coast. I'm part of that is because of the sheer size of Texas you can drive it day in any direction and not get to the end of it. Much less hike, you could probably hike for I don't even want to go across Texas. And then when you get to the coast and much of the area. It's nice, but it's very, very petrochemical, shall we say. And compare that to just across the golf when you get into the panhandle of Florida or something like that. And it's like these, these states have a really strong coastal identity. And these are coastal states. And so I think what you're saying there, Geology determines access. And in some ways geology determines identity when it comes to a lake identity. That's Yes, a fascinating way of thinking about it. And so in your mind, you see this as a wonderful place to recreate and you see it as some of the lakes or fishers lakes, right? What what makes it the Great Lakes unique, what have you learned beyond that that makes some kind of unique or valuable resource that in your mind makes it worth conserving are worth fighting for.

Loreen Niewenhuis 22:51
You know, these lakes are so large, and people who have never seen them really don't have a sense of how large they are. But technically, they're classified as inland seas. They contain 84% of the fresh surface water in all of North America. So if you gathered up all the rivers and streams and lakes outside the Great Lakes, you'd only have 16%. So it just took to conceptualize the vastness of these lakes. And how much freshwater they contain is very important when you consider that 40 million people get their drinking water from the lakes. And when you consider the amount of, of economic prosperity that's here because of people coming to enjoy these lakes. That gives you some sense and some building blocks of why we need to cherish and protect these lakes. And one thing about Lake Michigan as I hiked around it, I realized that even though it took me 64 days to walk around it. It's vast, but it's fragile. we've messed up Lake Michigan, we've thrown the balance out many times invasive species pollution, the lamprey taking out the fish and then we threw salmon in there to kind of bring balance back and to eat up all the airwaves. Were talking about a lake that took me two months to walk around, and yet we can mess it up. So I do think we need to be guardians and protectors of these lakes and to and to realize the vast natural resource that we have here.

Stuart Carlton 24:28
Yeah, that's interesting. Earth time. Geologic Time is slow. Right. And human time is fast. Yeah. And yeah, the leverage we have the ability to make environmental change so quickly I think it's hard to conceive of and I think some people can't conceive of that which ties into some of the other issues related to climate change denial and and what have you but but but I mean, you know, we're billions of years in the making here and even though the Great Lakes themselves I just learned this last episode, which everybody else did, I assume at but you know, the Great Lakes since elves may be only about a couple 1000 years old, or 10,000 years old. Excuse me. Yeah. But no, my computer blinked at me and I got distracted. And so the Great Lakes. Let's try that again. And so the Great Lakes themselves may only be 10,000 years old, but that's still, you know, as old as agriculture, right? And you look at the speed of the change in the last century or two, or three, and it's, it's mind boggling. Yes.

Hope Charters 25:28
What do you do in like Michigan besides take crazy amounts of time to hike? Or do you Oh, do you swim? Do you paddleboard?

Loreen Niewenhuis 25:39
I do kayak. I do swim. But hiking and rock collecting and just just hiking. I just love walking on the shoreline. Yeah.

Hope Charters 25:48
Did you do anything to prep for this hike? Like, did you go on super long hikes, you know, kind of how you train for a marathon if you're going to run a marathon to for the very thing to prep.

Loreen Niewenhuis 25:58
For the very first hike? I did. I did work out. I'm not really I don't really like going to the gym. But I did do a bit of that. And I did run a little bit. But as I mentioned earlier, it's difficult to train for just the changing terrain. That so that was a little rough on my body until I you know, like I said got 400 miles into it, then it was pretty good.

Stuart Carlton 26:20
Yeah, the first 400 Miles is always the hardest. That's what I always write. 401 is a sweet, sweet mile. Yes. So if I want I'm not gonna hike 1000 miles. I'll be honest, I'm not gonna hike 22 miles. I'm not gonna hike four to one but but if I wanted to, like where are some really beautiful areas having walked around Lake Michigan that you can recommend if people are interested in in seeing just some stunning hikes? Are there one or two that stick out?

Loreen Niewenhuis 26:47
Yeah, definitely. I actually put out an ebook on Amazon called Best Lake Michigan hikes because people kept asking me where do I go and also to get to the lake shore safely and then to know where you're going to get off the lake shore safely. And actually, if you look at that, the 10 hikes there. Some of them may not be accessible now because Lake Michigan's level is so high. So you really need to assess the conditions when you get to the lake shore and how safe it is. But one area that has about 100 miles of hiking trails, many of them very close are on the lake shore is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore just west of Traverse City. And two of my favorite hikes up here because i i live in this region, or I live in Traverse City. Two of my favorite hikes up here are the Empire bluff trail and pyramid point. And we got some there.

Hope Charters 27:45
guy couldn't tell if you guys could hear it or not.

I'm so sorry. You're gonna have to start that.

Stuart Carlton 28:00
Philosophy though. What we'll also do is we'll put a link to your book in our show notes, which people can find at Teach great lakes.transistor.fm/three Because this is episode number three. And we'll put a link to your books there. And so those are actually pretty close for people who are listening in the Chicago area or for people who are listening near us in West Lafayette. That's a relatively easy drive to get to those hikes. So maybe I'll get the kids in the car and we'll do that over the break. Oh, nevermind. I'm not supposed to speak like we're recording this in December. I had a lot of fun doing that over the break with my kids.

Loreen Niewenhuis 28:39
It's like time draft right. It's like I said it's

Stuart Carlton 28:41
totally totally evergreen recording. Alright. Oh, maybe

Hope Charters 28:45
we should just take the entire Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant stuff.

Stuart Carlton 28:49
Yeah, maybe we should scramble up Chelsea hostess. Yeah. So what's next for you? You've done 3000 mile journeys across the Great Lakes. So is the move then for another 1000 mile journeys or journey or have you kind of exhausted that and are looking for a different adventure?

Loreen Niewenhuis 29:06
Well, on my Island Adventure exploring the islands of the Great Lakes, I got up to aisle Royal and I volunteered for the wolf moose study. They need volunteers to hike the island and gather moose bones, which sounds odd but it's the most fun

Stuart Carlton 29:21
ever. Like what kind of most bones are like leg bones are?

Loreen Niewenhuis 29:26
Well you sometimes you find the whole skeleton sometimes you just find one bone near like where did the rest of them go?

Stuart Carlton 29:31
How big is the hospital? Can you carry it? Are you supposed to what's the

Loreen Niewenhuis 29:35
we we have? We have to bring back the skulls and then a metatarsal which is a rear leg bone. For the scientist.

Hope Charters 29:42
How big is the skull? Like imagine that I have no idea how big a moose is. I don't

Loreen Niewenhuis 29:51
have you seen like outwest they have the cow skulls? Yeah, it's about as big as a cow skull but sometimes they have the antlers attached in the end. Hitler's can weigh 20 pounds, oh my

Stuart Carlton 30:01
goodness, you're hooking a moose head across the barrel royal for science.

Loreen Niewenhuis 30:07
Yes. And it's the most fun. I've, it's so much fun that I did it one time for the book. And I've returned another four times. And last or just this year, well, if we don't want to deal with time, um, but we're good. Yeah, I even led a team of hikers this this past excursion. So that's something I plan to do, as long as I can do it, because it is so much fun. Oh, my God, but I do feel the pull of a long hike, another 1000 mile plus hike. The Appalachian Trail has always been there and kind of pulling at me. So I may do that in the future. I can imagine

Stuart Carlton 30:43
it does get into your bones after a while or into your blood, this idea of these I mean, kind of extreme challenges. You know, maybe not extreme in terms of really hard terrain, although maybe, but in terms of just the persistence, but getting into that meditative state. I can imagine that that would be kind of addictive in a way

Loreen Niewenhuis 31:02
it is. And it's also very, there's something about casting off a lot of cares. And like responsibilities to you're just out in the wild. Just you and whatever you can carry on your back and you realize how little you need to actually survive and thrive. So it's, it's kind of a reset button for me, it resets my priorities and resets my mind in a lot of very good ways.

Stuart Carlton 31:31
Yeah, I think that makes sense. There's something about your modern life is very busy, right? And sometimes good busy, sometimes busy just for the sake of busyness. Right. And so there is sort of like strapping a moose head to your back and walking across an island.

Loreen Niewenhuis 31:47
It's so much fun.

Hope Charters 31:50
So was this able to get you away from more traditional job during these two months? Or did you have the time off to be able to do it?

Loreen Niewenhuis 31:59
Actually, at that time, I didn't have a full time job. And I just did that in segments and kind of fit it into my life where it wherever it would fit. But whereas I can also be back with my family as much as possible. So that's how I did the first one. Prior to that, I worked in cancer research full time. But at the time I did the first time I wasn't working full time.

Hope Charters 32:24
I was gonna say that sounds nice for Hebron, our job Stuart, just take a month off and go hiking and yeah, you know, meditate the entire time.

Stuart Carlton 32:34
Yeah, just just live tweet at Hope. And we'll counter this work. Great. Well, Laurie, no one knew and ice I, I admire so much what you've done, because I think that it's well, I mean, it's, I'll be honest, it's weird to dress up and hike around the lake. But but it's really great to take, you know, take the time and say I'm going to do this right, I'm going to challenge myself, I'm going to hit the pause button on the busyness of life. And I'm going to learn about me and learn about this resource. I just am in awe of you doing it. And we really appreciate you being on teach me about the Great Lakes. Is there a place where people can go to find more information about you or about your work or to follow on social media or something like that?

Loreen Niewenhuis 33:22
Sure, they can find all of that at Lake trek.com, as you mentioned before Lake trek, as in Star Trek, which is a very good way of conveying that. They can find out about my books, my audio books, my speaking engagements upcoming hopefully some of them by hopefully some of those speaking engagements will be near the people and they can actually come out and hear me speak about the Great Lakes.

Stuart Carlton 33:48
Well, Laureen, thank you very much for appearing on the show. And we look forward to following you on your next adventure.

Loreen Niewenhuis 33:54
My pleasure. Thank you, Stuart. Thank you hope. Thanks, sorry.

Stuart Carlton 34:13
What a fascinating woman. And what a fascinating experience, I think, to do all of these sort of crazy extreme challenges even split out over multiple days. I mean, the persistence there. I have not seen that persistence outside of my kids asking if they can. We've carried our plate out

Hope Charters 34:33
today. Yeah, that was amazing to hear about.

Stuart Carlton 34:36
So what did you learn about the Great Lakes today?

Hope Charters 34:40
Today I learned about the Great Lakes that if you were to walk around Lake Michigan, it would take about two months. Is that correct? Yeah.

Stuart Carlton 34:48
64 days I think she said

Hope Charters 34:50
yeah, exactly. And I already own a pair of Keens. So I learned that I made the right choice when hiking boot shopping,

Stuart Carlton 34:59
finding the right foot whereas the first step to walking around the Great Lakes, what did you learn? I learned two things. One, that you can hike around IO Royale with a moose head for science. And I learned to that there's there's kind of an attraction maybe even a value to approaching the lakes on this micro scale and to the calm meditative break from the busyness in which you reconnect to this fascinating resource. And I learned that although I will never ever, ever, ever walk 1000 miles around the Great Lakes or across the Great Lakes. I really wish I were the type of person who did alright, how hope well this is it for another episode of teach me about the Great Lakes episode number three, we encourage you to visit our website at Teach Great Lakes not transistor.fm We encourage you to like and to subscribe, and to review and do all of those fun things. And if you have any questions or comments, go ahead and hit us up on Twitter at Teach Great Lakes. Hope where can people follow you on Twitter?

Hope Charters 36:00
You can follow Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant i o i n Sea Grant on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And if you really want to follow me personally, you can find me at Hope Kiera H ope KY Ra.

Stuart Carlton 36:13
Thanks so much hope thanks to our guests Laureen new in house and we will talk to you next month. Bye guys

now we put in the beatboxing we

Hope Charters 36:28
can just add in the music from earlier.

Stuart Carlton 36:33
Videos like doing Sleigh Ride

Creators and Guests

Stuart Carlton
Stuart Carlton
Stuart Carlton is the Assistant Director of the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program. He manages the day-to-day operation of IISG and works with the IISG Director and staff to coordinate all aspects of the program. He is also a Research Assistant Professor and head of the Coastal and Great Lakes Social Science Lab in the Department of Forestry & Natural Resources at Purdue, where he and his students research the relationship between knowledge, values, trust, and behavior in complex or controversial environmental systems.