Exploring a Shipwreck on a Drummond Island Off-Roading Adventure

Today, guest blogger Christian Anschuetz from Modern Explorers tells the story of how his group of thrill-seeking adventurers came across a shipwreck while on an off-roading adventure on Drummond Island.

Photo courtesy of Modern Explorers

Photo courtesy of Modern Explorers

With everything that progress has brought to our modern world, it’s refreshing to know that there are still places on the planet that remain pristine.  Perhaps surprisingly, Michigan brims with more places like this than many expect, and our group of would-be adventurers, true modern explorers, seek and discover these hidden gems.

Our crew of ten men and women has made it their mission to find these often wild and remote places in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same.  From the northern shores of the Upper Peninsula’s Keweenaw, to the great National Huron and Manistee Forests, they have visited ancient copper mines, followed in the footsteps of Au Sable lumbermen, camped in the ruins of abandoned ghost towns, and most recently, visited the historic Drummond Island.

Here’s the story of how we discovered a well-known, but rarely visited shipwreck, on our latest adventure.

A piece of the Agnes W. Photo courtesy of Modern Explorers

A piece of the Agnes W. Photo courtesy of Modern Explorers

A summer squall rages across Lake Huron.  Strong winds whip the air and the surf into a frenzy, punishing all in its path.  Today’s victim would be a sturdy steamer that was once the largest vessel to travel the Great Lakes.  But neither her size nor her steadfast crew could protect her from the wrath of Mother Nature, which forced the Agnes W aground.  It was July 3rd, 1918 when the Agnes W crashed into the rocky shoreline and sank.  Nearly a century later, my team and I find ourselves staring at her well-preserved wreckage as we look to the south from Traverse Point on Drummond Island.

Locating the Agnes W on a map was a simple task, but making our way to the wreckage was another matter altogether.  Drummond Island is a beautiful, rugged place, and the path to the sunken ship was long, narrow, and harrowing.  While the off-road vehicles we took down the trail were up to the task, the drivers were tested after just a mile of navigating the sand, mud and stone.  We shared a deep sense of accomplishment as we exited our vehicles at the shoreline and began the hike toward where the Agnes W broke upon the rocks.

Photo courtesy of Modern Explorers

Photo courtesy of Modern Explorers

As we walked the last quarter mile to Traverse Point, our curiosity grew with every step: What would we find?  Two hundred yards from our destination our group made its first discovery: a massive beam pierced with wrought iron stakes lay upon the shore.  This large piece of debris had to belong to the Agnes W, so with sharpened eyes we moved forward, finding more and more of the wrecked ship along the way.  By the time we arrived at the tip of Traverse Point, we were surrounded by artifacts.  Less than 40 yards away we could see the well-preserved hulk of the steamer peeking through the surface of the water.  Despite the warm air and bright sun, a cool and eerie feeling descended on our group.

Individually and collectively, we wondered about the fate of the crew that night.  What was their experience of the violent collision between ship and land?  How many perished, how many survived?  Some answers to our questions reside in the history books.  Many others have been lost to time.  What the wreckage made clear, however, was that even this great ship was no match for the giant rocks that are the foundation of Drummond Island.  After discussing the little-known history of the Agnes W, we took our last photos and began the hike back to our vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Modern Explorers

Photo courtesy of Modern Explorers

As with most things on Drummond Island the adventure isn’t complete until you are safely back to your starting point.  This time we tackled the trail off the beach knowing that the surviving crew of the Agnes W likely forged a similar path as they left that shore cold, wet and scared.  Our team departed under far better circumstances, and with a sense of satisfaction that we had found what we were looking for.

During the following days we navigated even rougher terrain as our team explored and discovered towering cliffs, amazing rock formations, old ruins and intriguing Chippewa sites the locals call “places of power”.  For Drummond is a big island with an even larger history.  A land that calls out to would-be adventurers to rediscover her secrets.  A worthy destination for all, and one that deserves the title Pure Michigan.

Have you had the opportunity to explore Drummond Island? Tell us about your experience! 

Check out the Modern Explorers in action and see the wreck of the Agnes W for yourself in the video below.

Christian ModExpChristian Anschuetz embraces the duality of modern life, and freely moves from being a technologist at work, and an avid outdoorsman and adventurer for play.  As an IT executive and entrepreneur, he happily takes the lead of the Modern Explorers crew.  As a former Marine, the path he leads the team is often fraught with obstacles, dirt, and adventure. You can reach Christian at christian@modern-explorers.com. To learn more about the Modern Explorers follow them on Facebook or check out their YouTube Channel.


Pure Michigan August 2014 Events Roundup

August is quickly approaching and there’s still plenty of summertime left to get out and enjoy an outdoor adventure or fun summer festival. From racing events like the Pure Michigan 400 to star-studded concerts and the Michigan state fair, there’s something for everyone happening this month. 

Below is a roundup of some of the many events going on around the state in August. Visit michigan.org for a complete listing of Michigan events.

Week of July 28th – August 3rd

wizard-of-oz-puppetsThe Wizard of Oz
August 1-2, Coldwater
Lions and Tigers and Puppets, oh my! Adapted for marionettes by Martin Stevens and Dan Raynor, children of all ages will watch with bated breath as a Kansas cyclone whisks Dorothy off to Oz. This classic heart-warming tale captures the imagination with its many beloved characters. 10 a.m. Tickets: $7 includes popcorn and juice at intermission.

Buy Michigan Now Festival
August 1-3, Northville
The Buy Michigan Now Festival is a weekend celebration of Michigan businesses and products made within the state. This family-friendly event includes tasty treats, street vendors, live music, and children’ activities, all highlighting Michigan-based businesses. Adults may also partake in local beers and wines in the Michigan Beer Garden. Admission and parking are free. For the sixth straight year, this event is set in charming downtown Northville.

Bayside Music Festival
August 2, St. Ignace
Get ready to listen or dance in downtown St. Ignace from 4pm till who-knows-when, when a series of bands dazzle the crowds and keep the light-a-foot busy. Family games, a beer, wine and soft drink tent, food concessions and more are available as the live music plays. It’s all happening in the city marina parking lot, with fireworks on display at dusk! Admission: $5 per person, and FREE for children five years of age and younger!

Boats on the Boardwalk
August 2, Traverse City
Featuring 50 boats, circa 1900 through current wooden classics. Boats on display usually include high-powered mahogany runabouts, hydroplanes, outboards, vintage engines, powered launches, wooden canoes, and rowboats. Live musical entertainment and lunch available. Event held along the Boardman River boardwalk in Traverse City. Admission is free.

Copperman Triathlon
August 2, Copper Harbor
1900 through current wooden classics. Boats on display usually include high-powered mahogany runabouts, hydroplanes, outboards, vintage engines, powered launches, wooden canoes, and rowboats. Live musical entertainment and lunch available and admission is free!Get ready for a half-mile swim in the brisk waters of Lake Fanny Hooe, a 23-mile bike ride along the shore of Lake Superior, and a five-mile run past the end of US Highway 41. Race starts at the boat ramp of Fort Wilkins State Park, just east of Copper Harbor, Michigan. An $11 Recreation Passport is required for entering State Parks, Recreation Areas, State Forest Campgrounds, Non-motorized Trail Head Parking and Boat Launches. Recreation Passports can be purchased when renewing your State of Michigan license plate tabs or at state parks and recreation areas.

Week of August 4th – 10th

Michigan Pirate Festival
August 4-10, Grand Haven
Join in celebrating the Michigan Pirate Festival’s eighth year in western Michigan this August 4-10, 2014, in Grand Haven, Michigan, at Loutit District Library and at Harbor Island. This year’s event will include pirate hunters, re-enactors, literary and fantasy characters, encampments, and pirates from more eras than ever before. Come out and see for yourself what the excitement is all about!

Kalamazoo Ribfest
August 7-9, Kalamazoo
Features national and local rib vendors that sell ribs and chicken in outstanding barbeque sauces. To complement the rib vendors, additional food vendors will be offering side items and sweet treats to top off the food experience at Ribfest. Music from national rock and country artists will be on scene, along with local bands and plenty of fun activities. Tickets for Ribfest are now available online so you can avoid waiting in long lines!

Sparta Celtic Festival
August 9, Sparta
The Sparta Celtic Festival is a free, family friendly event focused on the expression of Celtic heritage. The festival offers music, food, and merchants with a Celtic focus while featuring two stages filled with music and dancing. The children’s area offers activities for kids of all ages. This year, the festival is celebrating a 5th anniversary, and will be launching new attractions, including the Celtic Tens Rugby Tournament, High Tea House and more!

Cheeseburger in Caseville
August 8, Caseville
Head to Caseville for some serious summer family fun! Cardboard boat races, hat making, music and cheeseburgers are just a few of the many things going on this year. Musical entertainment will be in the park and the parade of tropical fools will be happening on Wednesday, August 13  at 6 p.m.

 Week of August 11th-17th

Upper Peninsula State Fair
August 11-17, Escanaba
Head north for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula State fair! Held in Escanaba at the Fair Grounds, make sure you come enjoy all the great events, entertainment and racing! This Upper Peninsula fair is something that you won’t want to miss, so put it on your calendar today!

BlueberryPieWild Blueberry Festival
August 15-17, Paradise
Each year during the third weekend in August, Paradise celebrates a part of its local heritage—wild blueberries. An art fair, entertainment, kid’s craft tent, and wonderful local food showcase the festivities. The celebration also includes informative programs of music, nature, and local history lore. There is an activity and delight for everyone in the family!

BBQ Dinner Sail
August 15, Bay City
Set sail on this family friendly voyage aboard the Appledore IV for a fun and relaxing evening of cruising along the Saginaw River and Bay. While on board, guests will enjoy a delicious andcasual barbecue meal catered by one of Saginaw’s local restaurants. All sails are rain or shine. Sails every Friday, August 15 to September 26, 2014, 6-9 p.m. Departs from downtown Bay City, Wenonah Park.

Woodward Dream Cruise
August 16, Metro Detroit
With more than 50,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles on display, the Motor City definitely shifts into cruise mode for the Woodward Dream Cruise, an all-star display of car culture. Taking place along a 16-mile stretch of legendary Woodward Avenue on August 16, 2014, the event guides muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles through eight host communities including Berkley, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Pontiac and Royal Oak, in Southeast Michigan.

NascarPure Michigan 400 NASCAR Spring Cup Series
August 17, Brooklyn
The 2014 racing season concludes with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400. The Sprint Cup Series stars always end the MIS season with an exciting finale, featuring many lead changes and exciting finishes. With great camping, affordable adult prices, special kids pricing, free parking and the ability to bring a bigger cooler with your favorite food and beverages, MIS is the perfect way to end your summer race season!

St. Ignace History Week
August 17-22, Saint Ignace
Join the town of Saint Ignace as they pay special tribute to their rich history during this 6-day event. Fort de Buade Indian Museum and the Museum of Ojibwa Culture will offer special presentations, community walking tours, and much, much more! Native American singing, geocaching and a variety of other events will all occur during this celebration.

Week of August 18th-24th 

Tecumseh’s Classic Car & Bike Show
August 21, Tecumseh
Get your motor running and head to Tecumseh to see over 200 cars and motorcycles on display in the United Bank & Trust Hickman Financial Center parking lot. This family friendly event is something car and bike lovers won’t want to miss!

Movies on the Beach
August 22, Muskegon
Come join us on the shores of Lake Michigan for “Finding Nemo” with pre-movie music beginning around 8pm and the film will begin around dusk (around 9:30pm). So bring your beach chairs and blankets and come on down to Pere Marquette Park for this free community event!

Eminem and Rihanna Concert
August 22-23, Detroit
Two of music’s biggest superstars, Eminem and Rihanna, will be joining forces this summer for a series of co-headlining stadium shows when they launch “The Monster Tour” including Detroit’s Comerica Park in August for two nights.

Traverse City Summer Microbrew and Music Festival
August 22-23, 2014
Lovers of craft beer, world music and local harvest won’t want to miss the annual Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival in the historic trees and on the front lawn of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Ticket buyers must be 21 years of age or older.

fudge.festivalMackinac Island Fudge Festival
August 22-23, Mackinac Island
While fudge was not invented on Mackinac Island, Mackinac Island’s fudge has become the most popular fudge in America. This festival celebrate the creamy goodness with events such as Dining Under the Influence of Fudge, Fudge on the Rocks, Michigan Craft Brew Beer Tastings, Great Turtle Slow Ride, and the coveted “Daddy, I Want the Golden Ticket” vacation giveaway.

 

Week of August 25th – 31st

The Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinac Bicycle Tour
August 27-31, East Lansing
The Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw Bicycle Tour, which is a nationally known bicycle camping tour, was originated in 1971 by former State Representative Dick Allen of Ithaca. All routes will begin at the MSU Pavilion in East Lansing and follow country roads whenever possible to attempt to provide the safest, most scenic routes between campgrounds. DALMAC is open to individuals, families, and all capable, interested bicyclists. Riders under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent or responsible adult who must ride with them. DALMAC riders are given special permission to ride bicycles across the Mackinac Bridge.

Street Beats
August 28, Boyne City
Come to Street Beats in August to shake it up! Continuing on with a popular 30-year tradition–Dancing in the Streets (Street Beats) brings out nearly 400 people. You’ll have a ball as you shake and move at this popular Boyne City event!

Michigan Peach Festival
August 28-September 1, Romeo
The Michigan Peach Festival of Romeo includes parades, sports, carnival rides, craft show, food and fun for the whole family over five days around Labor Day weekend in downtown Romeo. The Romeo Peach Queen reigns over this popular annual celebration of summer with a wide variety of events from dawn to dusk each day. Festival begins Thursday before Labor Day and runs through Labor Day.

Arts, Beats, and Eats
August 29 – September 1, Royal Oak
Oakland County’s premier entertainment festival which draws nearly 400,000 people to experience more than 200 juried art exhibitors, 50 restaurants and 200 performances on 10 stages downtown Royal Oak. Admission fee.

Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair
August 29-September 1, Novi
This year’s State Fair will include an expanded Midway, live entertainment, the ever-popular racing pigs, livestock and home arts exhibits, the state of Michigan Butter Cow, special performances by the Detroit Shrine Circus, Made in Michigan Pavilion, tasty carnival treats, and much more!

Michigan Bison Bash
August 30, Levering
Grab the whole family and stampede your way up to Levering for the Michigan Bison Bash! This exciting and unusual event will feature a kid’s fun area, buffalo ranch tours, food, games, live music, beer tents, vendors and displays, and a live buffalo calf to pet! This is an event that will be unforgettable for the whole family!

Which events will you be at next month? 

Maker Faire Detroit 2014 Keeps Makers in Michigan (Plus a Giveaway!)

Tinker, hack and mingle with over 400 makers during the ultimate festival of invention and creativity at the world’s original Maker mecca. Maker Faire Detroit returns to The Henry Ford July 26-27, 2014! Today, guest blogger Maddie Rich fills us in on what you can expect from young inventors at the popular event this year.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Celebrating our fifth year, Maker Faire Detroit 2014 will welcome back more than 400 makers with everything from robots and knitters, to flame shooters and power tools drag racing later this month. Maker Faire Detroit is a great opportunity to see makers of all ages, from kids to makers in their 80s. As an intern here at The Henry Ford, eager to attend my first Maker Faire, I am particularly interested in seeing the young adult makers and what new innovations and ideas are coming from them. Each year, local college graduates leave Michigan to find jobs and opportunities elsewhere. This hurts the state’s economy and makes it near impossible to grow and flourish. Maker Faire Detroit showcases the talent in Michigan and other areas and gives creative, innovative minds a place to interact and share ideas.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

One participant in particular that proved to be full of talented innovators and is passionate about keeping bright, young minds in Michigan is Central Michigan University. CMU will be bringing student-made projects that showcase the skills and talents of their students. The main attraction will be their small, one-person off-road vehicle that was built completely from the ground up by students in CMU’s Automotive Engineering program. This car competes nationally in the Baja SAE Design Series. Central is also showcasing a movie created by students in the Broadcast and Cinematic Arts department and a student’s photo journalism project that was awarded second place from the Hearst Journalism Awards Program, a prestigious national competition.

I got the chance to talk with the Director of Student Life in the College of Science and Technology at CMU, Heidi Mahon, about their booth and what they do at Central to keep the obviously talented students they have in Michigan.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

“CMU students stay in Michigan. They do,” says Mahon. She explained that the university is proactive in helping their students create a network with Michigan based companies so many of their alumni end up working with these companies. Mahon, not a native to Michigan herself, sees all the opportunities the state presents for her students. “Michigan is home to so many large, global companies. Dow, Ford, GM, Steelcase, just to name a few. We make sure our students make connections with these companies.” In addition to making sure their students are exposed to job opportunities with Michigan-based companies, they encourage students to pursue creativity and entrepreneurship through their annual New Venture Competition. At Maker Faire Detroit, CMU will be showing possible future students what they can do at Central and how their students are putting their skills to work to help make Michigan better.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Central is not the only university that will be present at Maker Faire Detroit this year. Kettering University and the University of Michigan-Dearborn will have booths that will showcase young talent in Michigan. There will also be booths geared towards even younger makers, such as the HYPE program at the Detroit Public Library, to inspire future entrepreneurs and innovators.

Big things are happening in Michigan and Maker Faire Detroit at The Henry Ford is the place to see them in action.

Do you want to score free tickets to Maker Faire at The Henry Ford? Simply tell us in the comments section below why you want to go to Maker Faire Detroit 2014 and who you would take with you. We’ll then select two lucky winners at random to win four tickets to the event. To be eligible, simply submit your comments (along with your email address) by this Thursday, July 17that 11:59 p.m. EST. We’ll contact the winner Friday morning using the email address provided (we won’t share it or sell it to anybody).  UPDATE: This contest has ended. The winner has been selected and contacted via email with their prize. Thank you everyone for the comments! 

Maddie Rich is a junior at Grand Valley State University, studying Marketing and Public Relations. She is a Marketing Intern at The Henry Ford this summer and cannot wait to attend her first ever Maker Faire Detroit. She loves living in the mitten and cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.