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Does Lake Superior have the best rocks?

May 30, 2008

Beach stones are a big reason we drive to the Keewenaw, wander beaches for hours (or drift hanging out of a canoe in the shallows, scanning), load the car to the axles, and have rocks everywhere around the house, on the porch.

There's only one good book about identifying Lake Superior beach stones, "Is this an agate?" by Susan Robinson. It's a book that many Michiganders and north country folk could use, as basically anyone who visits these pristine beaches ends up rock-picking and wondering what it is they're seeing. I should get some inventory of it to resell---but here's a link you can use for now: $10, www.dayooper.com/isthisanAgate.htm.

Agates are the most famous stone that people look for, but I find that there are another half dozen or more kinds that I like just as much, some are also semi-precious stones like the agate.

I like to loll along the beach, laying over the side of a canoe, watching the rocks thru the crystal clear water til I see one I have to have. But I've also learned to ID my favorites when they're dry, so just give me a beach---especially after a storm---and I'm happy and will quest for at least an hour a day.

"Waterwalker" is a movie---the best canoeing movie ever---that has a delightful cameo of our favorite rocks. It's a hard-to-find movie so I resell it here, if you'd like a copy. I know Bill Mason, the moviemaker, must've loved those Lake Superior beaches, too. (He also made the Oscar nominated movie of the book "Paddle to the Sea" and "The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes"---both popular elementary school movies when I was a kid and maybe even still today.)

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