Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Eight Mackinac Miles

This past weekend, my family made the trek north to Mackinac Island (pronounced "mack-a-naw") for a couple days of tourist trap type fun before the kids go back to school. Mackinac Island is located just off the shore between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas and in the shadow of the Mackinac Bridge, for those of you unfamiliar with Michigan geography.

Mackinac Bridge
It's famous for fudge, horses, bikes, no cars allowed, the Grand Hotel, some of the tackiest gift shops imaginable and some beautiful and historic island scenery. If you go, explore the island's many trails and forget the downtown gift shop trash.

Fort Mackinac on the hill (view from ferry dock)

We stayed at the 150 year old Lake View Hotel on the west end of downtown. I've stayed there a few times now and it hasn't disappointed. A good base from which to launch island exploration.

View downtown from Fort Mackinac (Lake View Hotel arrowed)

There is a paved, flat 8 mile path that winds along the edge of the turtle shaped island. I've always wanted to run it. I've biked it numerous times (including again this visit with the kids). Tuesday morning, I finally got a chance to do it.

The alarm went off at 6:45 AM. It didn't take me much to get out of bed. I left the room as quietly as possible while the wife and kids slept.

It was already light by the time I took off. In hindsight, I should have arranged to start my run as dawn was breaking. I suspect that would have been spectacular.

I passed about 10 people along the way - about 4 runners, 2 cyclists, and 4 photographers - but the path was largely my own. Quiet. Birds singing their morning songs on my right; the wind and waves rushing ashore on my left.

British Landing. Arch Rock. Fort Mackinac. All came and went.

Back into town, I toyed with the idea of a second loop but knew we had other plans that morning. I circled back around, took one more look at the distant Mackinac Bridge, and re-entered my hotel to find my kids and wife still asleep.

I did the 8 miles in about an hour. I didn't have my watch or Garmin functioning to know for sure. I now realize I need to invest in a small, runner friendly camera in order to capture some of these images 'on the run' as they occur.

It was about as nice of a run as you'll ever experience. I can't wait to do it again.

Happy trails.


L*I*S*A said...

I also would like to invest in a small camera to capture images along my run.

Glad you had such a great time!

Tom said...

Thanks for the tour. I want to vacation in that area and just need to make it a destination.

Loved what you said about as nice a run as you'll experience. Great end to the post.