Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Books · 1, 000 mile hike
. . . .

1, 000 mile hike

Robert Downes - March 7th, 2011
1,000 Mile Hike: Loreen Niewenhuis’s walk around Lake Michigan
By Robert Downes
Loreen Niewenhuis doesn’t have much of a background as an adventurer or a
long-distance hiker, but nonetheless, in 2009 she completed a walk around
the entire circumference of Lake Michigan.
Today, the 45-year-old author from Battle Creek is on a new adventure,
embarking on a tour in support of her new book, “A 1,000-Mile Walk on the
Beach,” published by Crickhollow Books, with stops at bookstores
throughout Northern Michigan.
The book details her experience hiking from the Navy Pier in Chicago
counterclockwise around Lake Michigan in a seven-month odyssey from
March-October that was broken up into 10 segments. “I hiked a total of 64
days, averaging 16 miles per day,” she says in a phone interview.
Her new book is just part of the satisfaction Niewenhuis has from
completing her walk.
“I know now that I can take on something this big -- a 1,000-mile walk --
and accomplish it,” she says. “I wanted to take on something that had the
possibility of failing -- something that would be difficult to do, but
worth it. Completing the walk made me feel more empowered and able than
I’ve ever felt before.”

THE BACKGROUND
Niewenhuis is new to writing as well as hiking. She grew up in the South
Lyon-Plymouth area; earned degrees in science from Calvin College and
Wayne State University; and worked in the field of medical and basic
science research while raising two sons with her husband, Jim, a
pathologist. “I fell into writing later in life after I returned to
school and got my MFA,” she notes.
As for adventure travel, she and her family had done a 40-mile hike in
Glacier National Park a few years ago, as well as a rafting trip out West,
“but this was my first big hike.”
So, what made her take on such an adventuresome project?
“I had been contemplating doing something involving Lake Michigan for a
long time,” she says. “It’s my place. Whenever I’m feeling stressed, I
head to the lake; it’s the place where I feel the most connected and at
peace. It’s a special place that’s like no other.”
She also decided to go it mostly alone. “I did 80% of the hike alone, and
20% with friends and family. As people started hearing about what I was
doing, they’d email me and we’d meet up along the route for a few miles.”
What did her husband think of her trip?
“He wasn’t very enthused about the undertaking at the beginning, but as
the hike went along he became very proud and happy for me. We hiked the
last few miles together to the Navy Pier.”

ROUGH SPOTS
As her website notes, Niewenhuis walked through rain and snow as well as
sunny days. Obstacles in her path included the urban blight of South
Chicago and Gary, Indiana as well as nuclear and coal-powered plants,
rivers and limestone cliffs.
“One day I hiked with my youngest son into a 35-mile-per-hour headwind and
one of the gusts blew me right over on my back,” she says. “We were only
able to hike five miles that day.”
Navigating the urban wilderness of Chicago and Gary meant using a
hand-held GPS unit and researching the route online and on Google Earth.
“I couldn’t walk a lot of that route along the lakeshore because there was
so much industry,” she says.
Hiking for long stretches on sand also had its challenges. “I tried to
keep to the water’s edge where the sand is packed down hard, but sometimes
I had to get up where the sand was soft and rolling and that really made
for workout and sore legs.”
Although she carried a pack throughout her hike, Niewenhuis decided to
stay at B&Bs and small hotels, rather than camping. “So much work is
involved in camping and I didn’t want to get involved in that kind of
housekeeping. Plus, I wanted to stay at B&Bs to ask the owners about the
areas I was walking through. They’d tend to know everything about the
history of the area and so many other things of interest.”

TEN SEGMENTS
Niewenhuis broke her hike into 10 segments in order to digest and reflect
upon what she had learned along the way.
“It allowed me to research each segment, including the people, history and
geology of the places I was passing through; and then I could weave
everything together. The book, ‘A Walk in the Woods’ by Bill Bryson was
my model. He weaves in so much information and you feel like you’re
walking along with him.”
Another advantage to doing her hike in segments was that she had a rough
draft of her book done by the time she completed her hike. “Revising the
book over the winter turned out to be another adventure, and so was
finding a publisher.”
Today, she’s looking forward to another literary challenge: publishing her
novella, “Atlanta” this summer. It’s based on the people and
neighborhoods of the southern city where she once lived for four years.
She has also published a number of award-winning short stories.
In the meantime, there’s a book tour that is taking her to bookstores and
libraries throughout the Midwest. “I’ve had a packed book tour with great
turnouts,” she says. “Lots of people come out who love to share their own
feelings and experiences of Lake Michigan.”

Loreen Niewenhuis will offer a book signing and talk on Friday, March 11
at 7 p.m. at Brilliant Books in Suttons Bay and Saturday, March 12 at
Horizon Books in TC from 2-4 p.m. She will also give a lecture about Lake
Michigan on March 15 at 7 p.m. at the Inland Seas Education Center in
Suttons Bay. And on Wednesday, March 16 at Great Lakes Books and Supply
in Big Rapids from 2-5 p.m. Check out her website at
http://www.loreenniewenhuis.com.

 
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