My Fifth Great Lake!

Grey Water & Sky

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.

The Teardrop meets Lake Ontario!

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.

The dogs meet Lake Ontario. No swimming today, boys.

Seagull-shit covered dock. Be glad film can’t capture smell!

Piratical D.O.G.

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…

Bowie & Bird

Dead Duck

Feathers & Sand

Little Feather, Cold Hand


Washed Up: Shells & Fish

White Teeth!

Folded Fish

Sodus Point Lighthouse, the little version. The big version, onshore, wasn’t nearly as photogenic.

The Breakway at Sodus Point


Sodus Point D.O.G.

Sodus Graffiti. Get a grip, girl.

Chimney Bluffs Graffiti

Chimney Bluffs Tree

Tiny Fish & Tree Rings

Lake Ontario Trash or Treasure? You won’t catch me snorkeling!

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!

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
This entry was posted in Bowie & D.O.G., Hiking!, Photography, Road tripping!, Teardrop Trailer, Uncategorized, Vagabonding 101 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to My Fifth Great Lake!

  1. grishmanphotography says:

    Beautiful series 🙂

  2. Caroline says:

    Think that is a muskie or northern pike. Love the great lakes, especially Superior, the greatest of them all. Nice pics and commentary, makes me reminisce.

    • Thanks, Caroline! I stopped at the Wild Center — the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks and they had a tank full of freshwater fish, including muskies and pikes. Hard to compare those magnificent living fish with these dried up beasts, but I’d say that’s a good guess! M

  3. jeff says:

    “get a grip girl” That made me smile.

  4. Tammy says:

    What makes you think it was written by a girl. Could be ” get a grip, man”. Unless you saw a signed name and just decided not to photograph it. 🙂

  5. Brian Hidy says:

    So cool that you are in my ‘back yard!’ I’ve been reading your blog for a while and enjoying your travels vicariously. But now I get to see your perspective of where I’m living. I have long known it is a beautiful place to live and there are lots of outdoor activities, but psss (whispering) don’t share too much, we don’t want to be overrun 🙂

  6. Gunta says:

    I don’t know what creates the urge, but I also shot pics of the dead birds on the beach. Haven’t ever thought to post them, though. 😉

  7. How nice of you to let us walk with you and peer at the dead birds and fish! I also like to inspect any and all items that wash up at high tide.

    Great post!

  8. Noel says:

    Shells=zebra mussels!

  9. RoSy says:

    The pic of the lighthouse…WOW!

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