"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door" … "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."
~ Bilbo Baggins from The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkein

Monday, June 1, 2015

Getting to and around the Straights of Mackinaw

Our Route: Harbor Springs - Mackinaw City  - Mackinac Island - St. Ignace

The Tunnel of Trees: Harbor Springs - Cross Village: one of the most beautiful bike rides I've ever done.

Departed:May 29, '15, 09:26AM
Starts in:Emmet County, MI, US
Distance:40.0 mi
Elevation:1260 / - 1311 ft
Max Grade7.2 %
Avg. Grade0.3 %
Total Duration:05:58:35
Moving Time:03:06:01

Max Speed:31.3 mph
Avg. Speed:12.9 mph

Our 8 mile perimeter ride around Mackinac Island

Photo Disclaimer

Now that we're on the UP internet is a little slow and I'm having trouble uploading photos. I hope that somewhere else along the line we'll have better communication and I can add them to this post. - Sorry

Approaching The Mac

When I posted the other day that we'd made it to "The Mighty Mac" several people asked, "But, did you go through the Tunnel of Trees?" The answer - yes, of course we did, its one of the most famous and now I can attest, the most beautiful bike rides I've ever done. Just didn't have time to do it justice yesterday. So, here are some photos from the day. If you ever have a chance to be in this part of Michigan, by bike, by car or on foot, take this in. The combination of lake views, forest, wild flowers is stunning.

Robb and Will riding through the Tunnel of Trees - somewhere south of Cross Village

After leaving Cross Village we headed east and more inland passing through the beautiful Wildness State Forest. More dune area than forest, it will be, I think the last of the large dune areas we'll pass through as these giants only occur on the windward, eastern, side of Lake Michigan. From here on it will be more Limestone cliffs and possibly some granite outcroppings

The Straights of Mackinaw

We stop for the night in Mackinaw City and board the ferry the next day for Mackinac Island (don't ask me why they're spelled differently - must have been one of my direct ancestors that did it because as those of you who know me well can attest, spelling is NOT my long suite). A dry but cold and windy day on the island gave us some magical sights and some interesting history as we visited first rode the 8 miles around the island then visited the outside of the Grand Hotel and the inside of the fort. Another ferry ride and we finally arrived on the Upper Peninsula (da UP).  The island presents an interesting contrast of tourist hordes -vs- elitist luxury; modern commerce -vs- historical lumbering, fur trade and wars. It leaves one much to ponder.

Encountering History

In St. Igance, a much quieter cousin to Mackinaw City, we find two places to study the history of this extremely important area. From the beginning of human history in the area to the early 1600s to well into the 1900s, the Straights of Mackinaw were the center of Inland Commerce in North America. First for Native American trading then for the French with their missionaries and fur traders, then the British again with furs, then lumber, then the Americans with every time of industry you could think of. The Straights was the sight where EVERYTHING that went by water crossed paths. So until the late 1800s and the rushing advent of the railroads, Mackinaw was the center of cultural and economic exchange.  More on all that later. But, for me at least, its a very exciting place to be and very moving to think that such ancient and important peoples looked out on these same waters, these same islands, these same forests as I do today.

No comments:

Post a Comment