Hiking Mackinac

Don’t you just love Michigan weather!? Last week we had piles of snow – this weekend, it’s almost nonexistent. With the warmer weather upon us, my friends and I took the opportunity to take a hike around Mackinac Island. I was pretty psyched about getting some fresh, spring air in my lungs, and hoped for some good shots of the surrounding nature. I also realized that I hadn’t gone letterboxing in quite some time, and immediately geared up to find some boxes!

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If you are unfamiliar with letterboxing, it’s an outdoor pastime that combines navigational skills and rubber stamp artistry in a treasure hunt style outdoor quest. It’s actually very similar to geocaching – in geocaching, one is given latitude and longitude coordinates to find a hidden box where one can log in by signing a sheet and trading items within the box. With letterboxing, instead of coordinates, you receive clues that lead you to a box where one logs in with rubber stamps. Making your own rubber stamp is fairly easy, and a lot of fun when finding other creative stamps too! We set out to find two specific letterboxes, and found both.

Afterwards we decided to step up on our hiking and took a couple of trails and stairs that led us to Sugar Loaf. I was here earlier in the winter when no one had yet disturbed it in all of its snowy glory… this time, it looked as though some people had made their way here by foot, ski, and even snowmobile.

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We made our way up Henry Trail towards Point Lookout, where we caught a glimpse of Sugar Loaf:

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Then slowly made our way down the stairs. This was probably not our best idea, since the stairs were half wet and half covered in snow, therefore creating slimy, slippery stairs!

My friend, Myron, works for the island, and has been working very hard to clear the roads and trails of trees and branches that had fallen from last weekend’s snow storm. We actually lost a lot of lilac tree branches and some lilac trees because of all that heavy snow, which is incredibly unfortunate. Myron noticed a couple other branches at the bottom of the stairs, and cleared the way for us.

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And finally… Sugar Loaf!

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It won’t be long until all these barriers will be taken out for the summer!

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Another thing I noticed along the way – the amount of litter left in the park. I brought a bag with me on our hike specifically for picking up empty bottles and trash. Every little bit counts!

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I’m hoping that with this warm weather coming up that my friends and I might be able to take more hikes and more time to pick up litter as we go along.

Mackinac Island also hosts a Geocaching event, the 6th Annual Spring Fling, which takes place this year on the weekend of April 28th. Find out more about geocaching at www.mi-geocaching.org or www.geocaching.com. If you’re interested in learning more about letterboxing, please visit www.letterboxing.org or www.atlasquest.com

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