“Well, in the Straits of Mackinac,
There’s about as much water as you ever saw.
Folks that lived there tried and tried,
But they couldn’t get across to the other side.”
“Couldn’t get across without a boat or a plane.
Couldn’t take a bus or a trolley or a train.
Couldn’t swim across, it was cold as a fridge!
So they thought they better build themselves a bridge.”
“Oh, the Mackinac Bridge,
She’s a mighty fine bridge.
Five hundred feet high,
And five miles long…”
(lyrics by K. Donahue)
I’m sitting on a beach in St. Ignace, MI, enjoying the beautiful Straits of Mackinac (pronounced Mack-i-naw). We decided to enjoy a quiet weekend in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Even though we are amid one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year, the U.P. rarely feels crowded.
We attended Mass at St. Ignatius Loyola, founded in the late 1600’s, read about the life’s work of Father Marquette, and visited his grave site. Later, we climbed Castle Rock (less than 200 stairs, one of the best views in the U.P.). Also, we enjoyed a northern treat, fresh whitefish! Diners had many choices: fish tacos, dip, smoked, fried, broiled…
However, the main purpose of this adventure was to join the annual Labor Day walk across The Mackinac Bridge, The Mighty Mac. The walk began at 7:00 am on the St. Ignace side. The bridge closed to public vehicles from 6:30-noon, but shuttle service was available, beginning at 4:30 am. The yearly walk attracted around 80,000 participants, including visitors from around the globe!
At five miles long, this free event offered the perfect nudge to stay in shape and enjoy a rare view of the Straits. Catering to most activity levels, runners won a lucky spot through a lottery, power walkers weaved through the crowds, retirees enjoyed a leisure stroll, and beginners celebrated a major milestone in their fitness journey. Think about adding this adventure to your bucket list!
Fun Facts about the Mackinac Bridge (mackinacbridge.org):
- Construction began in 1954
- Opened in 1957
- 5 miles long
- 552 ft high
- Maximum water depth: 295 ft
- Currently, the third largest suspension bridge in the world
Thanks for reading!