When Niewenhuis turned 45-years-old, she felt compelled to break out of the day-to-day routine and take on a big challenge. She decided to walk all the way around her favorite place: Lake Michigan. “Instead of having a mid-life crisis,” Niewenhuis said, “I had a mid-life adventure!”
In April 2012 Niewenhuis began her second 1000-mile hike. This one will take her along the shores of all five Great Lakes. “During my hike around Lake Michigan, I became captivated with the Great Lakes, America's vast Inland Seas. I decided that one adventure wasn’t enough. I wanted to touch all five of these amazing bodies of water and to explore the entire fresh water system and how it shapes and defines the region.”
Niewenhuis’s adventure began in April in Port Clinton, Ohio, along the shore of Lake Erie and continued west to Michigan, then along the edge of Michigan's "thumb" to Bay City. This first portion of the hike was 302 miles total, hiked in 23 days. "The month of April was rather cool," Niewenhuis said, "which was great for hiking. It was also quite windy. That was great when the wind was at my back, but tough when it was a headwind. I look forward to milder weather as the hike progresses."
The hike continued in June along the edge of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. In June Niewenhuis hiked 303 miles from Bay City, Michigan, to Harbor Springs, Michigan. This part of the hike allowed her to touch lakes Huron and Michigan.
In July, she has already hiked two stretches along Lake Superior’s coast: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising and the Estivant Pine Preserve near Copper Harbor. These hikes brought the total of her adventure to nearly 700 miles. The last part of July will find Niewenhuis hiking in Ontario along Lake Ontario's northern shoreline from Sandbanks Provincial Park to Toronto.
"Ontario has established a Waterfront trail (http://www.waterfronttrail.org/
She will also explore the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on the shores of Lake Michigan and some other stretches along Lake Michigan during September. This will bring to total miles hiked to around 1000 miles. The finale of her hike will be along the Niagara River Recreational Trail from the city of Niagara-On-The-
"Niagara Falls is one of the best points along the Great Lakes system to see the power of these waters," Niewenhuis said, "and to visualize how these lakes flow relentlessly to the North Atlantic Ocean." Niewenhuis will hike along many of the connections within the Great Lakes system including the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River, and the Niagara River. While on this journey, Niewenhuis will explore how important the Great Lakes system is to the entire country. “These five lakes contain 90% of the fresh, surface water in the nation,” Niewenhuis points out. “And tens of millions of people get their drinking water from the Great Lakes. They are vital to the region and the nation and we need to be better stewards of this amazing natural resource.”
This journey will give rise to her next book titled “A 1000-Mile Great Lakes Walk: The Adventure Continues Along the Shores of America’s Vast Inland Seas.” Crickhollow Books of Milwaukee will publish the book in 2013. Follow Niewenhuis's journey on her Facebook page http://facebook.com/
Loreen Niewenhuis has a bachelors of science from Calvin College, a masters of science from Wayne State University and a masters of fine arts from Spalding University. She is the author of "A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach" (the account of her hike around Lake Michigan), the novella ATLANTA (nominated for a SIBA Book Award), and many literary short stories. She was a finalist for the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction in 2009.
Niewenhuis gives lectures about the Great Lakes and readings from her work. To contact her for interviews or a speaking engagement, e-mail her at Loreen(at)LakeTrek.com
Please learn more about Niewenhuis, her writing, and her adventures at her website, http://LakeTrek.com and her blog, LakeTrek.Blogspot.com