PR Log - Jul 02, 2012 - Author Loreen Niewenhuis' bestselling book “A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach” chronicles her adventure of walking the perimeter of Lake Michigan along with the geology, ecology, and other fascinating aspects of this Great Lake. “A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach,” published by Crickhollow Books of Milwaukee, was a Heartland Indie Bestseller in 2011. The Beach Book Festival has now chosen the book as the best non-fiction book to read on the beach in 2012.
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!”
Niewenhuis accomplished her 1000-mile hike around Lake Michigan in 2009. It took 64 days of determined walking, and she averaged 16 miles a day. Niewenhuis said, “I encircled the lake with my footsteps, recorded it in my muscles and bones.” She has been constantly drawn to the shores of Lake Michigan and was the perfect person to undertake the adventure and to write about it with a clear voice. Niewenhuis is also a scientist. She has worked as a medical researcher in the past. She has a bachelors of science from Calvin College and a masters of science from Wayne State University. In her book, she offers witness to both the natural beauty of much of Lake Michigan's lakeshore and a concern for the lake’s health as she explored the long and troubling pattern of ecological abuses and environmental challenges.
Lake Michigan -- like all great places -- is not a uniform experience, but is different each day, every step to round the next bend, each beach or bluff. Niewenhuis's hike was a discovery of this incredible variety. In her book, she takes the reader along on the hike from the urban blight of South Chicago, to the popular state parks with grand dunes and sweeping vistas, to small towns and lakefront cottages, to the isolated wild stretches where few people go. And into the narrative of the hike, Niewenhuis folds in stories of the lake, facts about the ecosystem, geology, and history of the lake. She tells stories of the people she met along the way and of how this adventure transformed the way she looks at Lake Michigan.
Niewenhuis walked the lakeshore in rain and snow, in gale-force winds and calm sunny days. She had to navigate obstacles ranging from limestone cliffs to deep rivers to steel refineries, to nuclear and coal-fired power plants. The journey was filled with many challenges that she had to overcome.
In her book, Niewenhuis explores how vital the Great Lakes water system is to the entire country as these five lakes contain 90% of the fresh surface water in the nation. Niewenhuis conveys a sense of the magnitude and diversity of the lake she loves, a place elemental to the four Midwestern states that form its shores. From a ground-level perspective, the book explores the natural and human history of Lake Michigan and raises important questions about preserving our wild places and protecting fragile ecosystems.
"A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach" will offer inspiration to anyone interested in Great Lakes environmental issues (from invasive species to water quality to tourism) and to anyone interested in what it means to take a really long walk and look closely at oneself and one’s place in the world. And it is a perfect book to take to the beaches this summer.