East Side Boat Ride

It might take longer, but the east side of Mackinac Island is what you could call, the scenic route.

Sometimes when the boats start running again, there’s too much ice packed in on one side of the island. It usually ends up all on the side that the boats and ferries normally run on, which is the west side (or as I refer to it, the school side), and in that case the boat makes a trip around the other way. Now I’ve never had the opportunity see the east side of the island from the boat, so I was pretty excited to get a trip in this year.

Now when winter begins, you can see a lot of snowmobiles coming to the island, but when it ends, snowmobiles tend to leave the island. I think it’s more fun watching snowmobiles come to the island, because the snowmobile has to be moving to get up the ramp, and someone has to be waiting at the top of the ramp to grab a ski and turn it at a 90 degree angle as quickly as possible in order to make the turn (I may have to search for that picture!), but I did catch some video of one going onto the boat. No quick turns, but you can see how it would have to work if the snowmobile were coming up the ramp instead of going down, like it is here:

Once on the boat, I parked my butt on an outdoor bench and prepared to take a couple of photos. Although there aren’t many historic cottages or buildings on this side of the island, it’s such a nice view of the natural beauty that you experience from being here. Since it was already past 5:00, and with the sun on the other side of the island, most of my pictures turned out a little dark… but I did manage to get a few good ones in the bunch:

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Did your town get a snowstorm last night? Mine did! Here’s what happened on Mackinac Island…

mackinac island gal blog Arnold Line dock

There had been a lot of talk about the boats making this weekend their last time running to the island, since the ice in the lake is starting to accumulate. So, my roommate, Chelsea, and I, decided to make one last run out to ‘civilization’ before that happens. We hopped on to the first boat Saturday morning and headed out to Gaylord. As the boat left Mackinac Island, I couldn’t help but pop out for a second to take pictures, as did many others traveling back to St. Ignace…

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Ice floating around the water
Ice floating around the water

Over in Gaylord, Chelsea showed me the best way to shop like an islander. I mean, I’ve been living here my whole life, but this is my first time living in Harrisonville. I’m so used to living downtown, that I don’t think about what has to change now that I’m “up the hill.” First thing? Make sure you have lots of plastic totes to fill with your stuff, and on the way back, the Dray Service can deliver it up the hill to your home. Surprisingly, that’s something I’ve never done before! So I bought a bright blue 18 gallon plastic tote (apparently just the right size to fit inside a large bike basket too), and proceeded to buy groceries and other things that would eventually fill it up. We then made our way to Hobby Lobby, Bath and Body Works, and had just enough time to grab a donut at Tim Horton’s before getting back on I-75 to get back to St. Ignace… just in time, too, because the snow was starting to get slushy and heavy out on the roads.

Just reached the Mackinac Bridge. Can you see? Yeah, neither can I...
Just reached the Mackinac Bridge. Can you see? Yeah, neither can I…
Here we are almost at the bridge's halfway point... can you see the tower? Yeah, neither can I...
Here we are almost at the bridge’s halfway point… can you see the tower? Yeah, neither can I…
The carts are full of items needing to be taken to homes, including my brand new blue plastic tote
The carts are full of items needing to be taken to homes, including my brand new blue plastic tote

That night, we stayed in and organized all our new goodies in the apartment, trying not to eat all the new food that we had just purchased because, well, we had it… and I decided to take a nap. Unfortunately for me (or maybe fortunately?), I had slept through about an hour’s worth of rain that pummeled the island! Now that I knew there’d be ice for me to walk in tomorrow, I wondered how the snow would look on top of it.

The next morning, I woke up at around 2:45-3:00am, in complete darkness. I’m usually used to seeing just a hint of light from the lamppost outside my apartment, but that light was no longer there. My computer was off. The power was out. I didn’t think too much of it, and, being the middle of the night, figured it would be solved by the time I woke up.

Skip ahead to 7:00am, and I’ve woken up again… in complete darkness. I quickly checked to see if my phone had power and, upon finding that it did, checked facebook for some kind of update from a freaked out islander (and if not, I’d be posting my own freaked-out message!). Instead I saw an update from Jason St. Onge to the Mackinac Island News and Views page, letting everyone know that a substation in St. Ignace had had some issues and therefore all of Mackinac Island was out of power. I was sitting up in bed, freezing and hungry, realizing that I couldn’t make toast or drink a hot cup of coffee just yet. So, I just stayed in bed. I had an hour before I needed to leave anyway, so I figured I’d jump out of my room at the last minute and charge away outside. But the good news was that the power went back on at 7:30am, and all was well once again.

Since I’m getting some things fixed on my snowmobile this week, I’ve been walking around a bit more. There’s a little trail that takes you past Turtle Park and towards the cemeteries, which I decided to walk today.

On 7th Street
On 7th Street
Heading onto the trail
Heading onto the trail

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View down East Bluff
View down East Bluff
Hmm, what does that sign say? Well, the hill looks safe enough to me so...
Hmm, what does that sign say? Well, the hill looks safe enough to me so…

I made it downtown in one piece, although at one point I did slip so hard that both my ice grippers flew off the bottoms of my boots! Thankfully, I was able to catch myself and didn’t hit the ground. I’m sure that the roads everywhere are just as bad as ours, so be safe driving, everyone!

Snow & Ice

Well this week was mostly uneventful for me, especially since I’ve been battling the flu…. but this weekend we saw a little bit of snowfall and a lot of sun, which made a great combination to catch some pictures on Saturday.

Although I do have a snowmobile, I’ve been riding my bike lately because of the lack of snow. But Friday night, I woke up to find this! The ONE time I leave my bike out. I guess I should have put it back in the shed that night, hehe:


However, my bike wasn’t the only victim! There are many parked bikes around town that await their owners for the upcoming summer:

This weekend was also the last weekend for Arnold Line’s boat to run to the island… and it almost ended a day earlier than they were expecting! On Friday, their last boat of the day got stuck in the ice, and had to wait for the Coast Guard to break them out. Poor passengers! They were located right outside of the school, and since the high schoolers were expecting to play against Grand Marais that night, all of the kids were outside the school watching. Thankfully, they were able to make it to the island!

And although we had that one little mishap, it’s nice to have all of this ice. Sure, I’ll miss the sound of the waves for a couple of months, but the silence has its perks, too. After summers of tourism, the residents of Mackinac Island are welcoming of all this peace and quiet.