When I was in high school, a guidance counselor encouraged me to make a list of all the things I wanted to accomplish in my life. Things quickly got out of hand. Travel to every country in the world! Visit all 50 states! Sail all the Oceans! I don’t remember if I jotted down “See all five Great Lakes”, but as of this weekend: check!
I saw my first Great Lakes in 2006, on a road trip from Oregon to Pennsylvania via the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I remember being surprised I could not see all the way across Lake Michigan, even on its narrow axis. It didn’t look like a lake; it looked like an Ocean! Then in 2010, I spent a summer living in Ann Arbor and regularly visited Lakes Michigan and Huron. That summer I got up to the U.P. again, on assignment for EARTH’s Travels in Geology column and saw Superior. On a trip from Michigan to Pennsylvania, I swung several hundreds miles out of my way to hit Lake Erie.
On this road trip, after visiting Niagara Falls for the first time, I headed north and followed the shoreline of Lake Ontario for two days, stopping at several state parks and beaches along the way.
One beach, at Sodus Point Lighthouse, was littered with dead birds and dead fish. Ever since finding a good-sized dead shark on the beach in Assateague, Virginia, I have been perversely delighted by finding dead things on beaches. I can’t help but feel lucky when something from the deep washes up where I can get a good look at it. Death is a part of life and lord knows, I won’t be swimming down to visit them on their turf – I’m terrified of deep water. This is probably the best glimpse I’ve gotten at life in a Great Lake. The birds were beautiful and look at those fish! They’re downright Oceanic. This was a day for treasure…
On to the Adirondacks and Vermont! How do I come up with these crazy awesome road trips? Check out my post on How To Plan A KIller Roadtrip!