Day 42 – Cheboygan to Wilderness State Park

landing & showing my outrigger canoe at the home of Judy & Bruce Andersson in Wilderness State Park
lqanding & showing my outrigger canoe at the home of Judy & Bruce Anderson in Wilderness State Park

Today finds us taking a “wind day off.” Here in our little protected part of the Straits of Mackinac the air is chilly and the trees rustle in the building winds. It’s supposed to crank out of the SW, so with the only 12 paddle days left and three “hold up” days built into the schedule, I figured today would be a good one-especially since the family is here. I’m hoping we can connect with one of our past hosts so we might visit his secret spot for Petoskey stones. We shall see! We’ve been warned about the traffic in Harbor Springs which is where we are headed tonight. The boat will stay here with Bruce and Judy Anderson, our current hosts. Wendy, who owns the Wilderness General Store here at Wilderness Park, hooked us up with this wonderful couple who have Strait front property. This land has been in Judy’s family for somewhere around 100 years.

Last night Judy and Bruce hosted, along with Wendy and a slew of others, a wonderful vegetarian meal full of stuff I now need the recipes for.  The folks around here sure love their water, and from what I understand from Bruce Grant at Manitou Shores Resort, their electeds DO get the issues of the Great Lakes and the need to do something especially about the invasive species, but it’s hard getting those in DC who are not tied to this area and these particular resources to care and subsequently feel the need to come up with remedies for this pressing problem with either legislation or policy, despite how sorely it’s needed.

Last night at the dinner party we learned about the cascading effect of the impacts of an invasive species. I did a bit of digging, have not found a recent article, but perhaps those that have more time might poke around a bit if this sparks their interest. Anyway, so it seems there is a connection between invasive zebra mussels, algae, invasive gobies, and loon deaths. Actually, I’m not sure if the gobies are invasive or not, so that needs a double check-but here is the gist of what seems to be going on with the loons-

We have so much to learn about our world, our ocean, our natural systems, but one thing seems clear, when we alter our environment in such a manner that it kills diversity and we allow one thing-aka, zebra mussels, phragmites, any kind of monoculture (thinking crops here), etc, etc, the whole system suffers. Diversity is more than the “spice of life,” diversity, heck, even, we are learning, in our own guts, is necessary FOR life. Which bring me to my other big peeve…..

Just a word-sorry to get all preachy on y’all, but I AM the byproduct of two grandfather ministers after all….

It is dismaying, to say the least, to read about the burning of African-American churches ( ). Seven to date since a crazed racist shot up an AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. One cannot hope to surmount the great challenges we have before us as a nation regarding our water- whether it be salty or fresh-until we begin to understand and actively remedy the inherent racism that still exists within our country. Racist hate has no place here, and is the ball and chain that holds us back. As long as we allow racism to be a wedge, we will not move forward on these pressing issues that impact all of us. We truly need all hands on deck, now more than ever. We need all of us together on this-clean water and a healthy ocean are required by everyone to not just live well, but to live. We must erase the hate. Diversity is a strength, the opposite of diversity, as we see in nature, is a weakness.


One thought on “Day 42 – Cheboygan to Wilderness State Park

  1. Harbor Springs is a beautiful area to paddle – except for July 4. The HS July 4th parade attracts thousands for both the parade and later the fireworks over the bay presented by both Harbor Springs and Petoskey. Enjoy your visit. It’s a delightful small town which treasures its natural resources and has the deepest natural harbor of the Great Lakes. On your travels south, perhaps you’ll run into the Paddle Relay around Lower Michigan, which is traveling north now along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The Traverse City to Charlevoix segment leaves tomorrow. You’re an extraordinary paddler!


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