How ’bout a 1600 mile hike around Lake Superior?


The Lake Superior walkers: Mike Link and Kate Crowley

Some of you may remember the blog I wrote on March 26th about a couple from Minnesota with a passion for nature and adventure.  If you don’t recall the exact details please click here

You will be delighted to know that Kate Crowley and Mike Link hiked down the Keweenaw Peninsula this week and made it to Baraga County!  I have been enthusiastically following their progress on their website and Facebook.  (One of the positives of my Facebook experience lately.)

They may pass this tree reflected in Lake Superior along their walk...

My husband, Barry, wanted to interview them for our newspaper, the L’Anse Sentinel, and I thought another blog might be appropriate, so we set off to meet Mike and Kate at the Baraga Park on Friday at noon.  We arrived at their camping site where their support staff of two helpful friends awaited their approach.

Beth, one of their friends, offered to drive us down the road to meet the hikers.  We caught up with them near Sand Point where they gave Barry an interview.  I didn’t want to steal my poor husband’s interview word-for-word so I returned to the state park later in the evening for their presentation.

(Gosh, I haven’t taken notes for years!  Even though I have a degree in journalism, I haven’t practiced intense note-taking in ages.  It was actually fun to sit in front of a yellow lined notebook and scribble many of the stories they shared.)

Ready for some of their stories?

Sharing their stories at a picnic table near the Ojibway Marina

As of last night they had traveled 387 miles.  Since they average 15 miles a day, you can guess their current count this evening.  They headed north and east out of L’Anse this morning, up the Point Abbaye Peninsula.  After that they’ll be Skanee-bound before hitting Marquette County.

Their goal is to stay as close to the shoreline as possible.  Not an easy feat.  (Not always easy on the feet either–especially on challenging rocky beaches.)  Sometimes they walk in the lake.  They’ve forded many a stream. 

They are fresh-water enthusiasts like you’ve rarely encountered, singing the praises of Lake Superior.  Did you all know that 10% of the fresh water on the planet comes from our lake?  All of the Great Lakes equal 20% of the surface fresh water on the earth.

“We are walking because we want to have fresh and clear water for our grandchildren’s grandchildren,” Mike said.  He also urged all of us to act to help the planet.  “It doesn’t have to be a major thing.  We all just have to care about the future.”

Kate told an endearing story about deer running out from the woods down to Lake Superior to splash and play in the waves.  One of the deer ran into the water and kicked and splashed before frolicking back up to the sand.  He then scampered back and forth–looking just like a child at play.  Finally he glimpsed the two hikers and dashed back into the woods.  They later saw similar deer-frolicking behavior on the beach again.

They have seen more than 75 bird species since they left Duluth on April 29th.  Lots of bald eagles.  A dramatic seagull rescue occurred at the beginning of their trip in Wisconsin.  They spied a gull floundering in the surf and discovered a fishing Rapala with a hook caught in the bird’s beak and foot.  Fortunately, their friend was able to pry out the hooks with wire-cutting apparatus and save the seagull.

“Some people would say ‘It’s just a gull’,” Kate said, “but no way could we have left an animal suffering like that.”

They surely passed across this rocky beach north east of L'Anse today

Their most challenging day happened early in the trip near Ashland, Wisconsin, with gale warnings, 20-30 mph winds and 40 mph gusts.  It was 39 degrees and raining when they began walking, but the rain soon turned to pelting slush and–you guessed it–snow.  They walked 13 miles that day and were nearing hypothermia when they finally stopped.

The extremely hot days last week also proved challenging.  Hopefully the temperatures will stay above 32 and below 90 for the hikers as they continue their journey around Lake Superior.

They urged that people set dreams and goals for themselves.  That there is no age limit to having dreams–no time to stop dreaming.  As grandparents in their 60’s, Kate and Mike are a testament to Dreaming Big!

I could share more of their stories but how about you visit their website instead?   The Hiker’s Journal pages with daily entries are especially fascinating.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us about your incredible adventure, Mike and Kate!  It will be great fun to watch your progress around Lake Superior.  We’re all cheering you on…

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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24 Responses to How ’bout a 1600 mile hike around Lake Superior?

  1. Carol says:

    They are so much more adventurous than I – I envy them. And you, for having the opportunity to visit with them. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing this great story.
    It is unbelievable that they have traveled so far on foot.
    This gives hope for miracles and goals to happen no matter
    where we are on the journey.


  3. Robin says:

    I would love to go on an adventure such as this. My husband and I took a quick (driving & camping) vacation around Lake Michigan about 20 years ago and I’ve often wondered what it would be like to hike/walk it. We live near Lake Erie now. Might be fun to get in shape by hiking a little of that.

  4. barb says:

    Your story about the Hikers is so interesting – I went to their website. Since my visit to Eagle Harbor last summer, I can more fully appreciate what they are trying to do along that rugged shoreline! My friends biked around the lake 2 summers ago.

  5. This is the thing Kath…you like to experience life Live action…not from the couch. I love that about you. And your posts urge us all to do the same. This is probably why we have fallen in to friendship- we are curious enough to get our pants legs wet, our shoes sandy or our fingers burned…all because we like to move in close to the pulse of things and see for ourselves.
    Thank you for meeting up with the hikers. I am thrilled to know how they are- as near to firsthand as I can get- through you.
    I am feeling very nostalgic…just watched “Cinema Paradiso” with my husband and girl…all these thoughts about going home. Off to find our summer rental on the Lake. I will keep you posted. Love, S

  6. Jessica says:

    I remember when you introduced them. The press coverage is good for their cause! What an amazing lot of stories they must have!

  7. Elisa says:

    Thanks for the information and the links to the site! Wonder how long the romance lasts? 😀

  8. Cindy Lou says:

    I had forgotten that this amazing couple was doing this….thanx for the link again. What an adventure, hey?

    Your reflected tree photo is fabulous!

  9. jeffstroud says:


    What a wonderful adventure for you and Barry! To interview and photograph this wondrous folk as they do their part in saving the planet. Am grateful you have followed through with their journey, I do remember the earlier blog and was awed by their commitment.
    Nice balance rock shot! Sweet photographs of Mike and Kate.

    I am Love, Jeff

  10. shellypolly says:

    AMAZING! In their 60’s and still going STRONG!

  11. P.j. grath says:

    They look like a lovely couple, Kathy, and they’ll have stories to tell for the rest of their life of this ambitious and wonderful hike. Lake Superior is bigger around (as well as deeper and colder) than Lake Michigan, but if you haven’t yet checked out this blog you might find it interesting, too:

  12. Mike Link says:

    One of the real pleasures of our trip has been the great people we meet and you and Barry are no exception. With all the memories we have, the nice people along the way really make this special. Thanks for visiting with us and sharing our story. We are pleased to know that your readers will be thinking about fresh water and the future!!

  13. Kathy says:

    I am glad you all enjoyed this post! It was great fun to interview Mike and Kate and feel inspired by their adventure. Even greater fun sharing it with all of you…

    Barry’s actually thinking of printing this blog as a guest-column in the paper this week…and then writing a news story next week.

    Mike, happy travels to you and Kate! Hoping that you get more sand and less rocks to walk on in the upcoming days…

  14. Dawn says:

    WOW! I remember your previous blog post too, but I had forgotten that they were walking! They are amazing! How cool. They will see so many wonderful things, already have! I wonder how often they change to new shoes?

    Anyway, thanks for the reminder and the links. Also loved the reflected tree photo!

  15. Wow! Last year I walked 1,000 miles around Lake Michigan. Several people asked if Lake Superior was next and I always said, “Have you been up there?!” All the best to these two.

    And I’m sure they’ll go through several pair of boots, especially with the rocky terrain around Superior. I got about 400 miles out of mine as I walked around Lake Michigan.

    Here’s hoping for good weather for them this year!

  16. Kathy says:

    Loreen, you are now on my list of People I Admire! Inspired about your trek around Lake Michigan, as well. Anyone reading these comments please go over to Loreen’s blog and read a bit about her incredible adventures.

  17. Pingback: A Superior Adventure « Great Lakes Gazette

  18. Mark says:

    Thank you for introducing me to this couple and their journey. I will begin following their trip and cheering them on! The Lake Superior shoreline is by far one of my favorite “places” in Michigan.

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  21. Colleen says:

    They inspire me! There is a part of me that has ALWAYS been drawn to this kind of personal quest/adventure….. “yearned” is probably a more accurate description.

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