Aerial Views

Since being on winter break from school, I had the opportunity to leave Mackinac Island by boat and spend time with my family off island. However, I was surprised to find out that the boat had stopped running during my time away, and I was forced to come back to Mackinac by plane! I guess that shouldn’t have surprised me too much, what with it being Northern Michigan and all, and that there was a huge ice storm the day AFTER I first left… but in the four short winters that I’ve stayed here, the earliest that the boats had stopped running was by the second week of January! So it was still a little surprising.

No problem though, as I enjoy riding the 5-person planes that Great Lakes Air takes to Mackinac. The ride is short and sweet, and it’s pretty easy getting some aerial views while in the air:

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Once back on Mackinac Island, I had a couple options for getting down the hill… I could ride the taxi, as seen below:

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Or, I could call my boyfriend to come pick me up by snowmobile… which is what I did 🙂 We rode two to the sled and he very courageously held on to my very heavy 18-gallon tote as I slowly drove down the hill. Trust me, there are ways to get around on this island in the winter, but sometimes the snow just won’t cooperate, as you can see here with the chief-of-police stuck in the snow at the airport!

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Once I was down the hill and completely unpacked, I decided to take a walk downtown, and noticed how much snow had accumulated on the island! YAY! The one downside? I think some people who are gone for a longer amount of time, and parked their snowmobiles downtown, might run into a little problem:

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Happy New Year, everyone, and safe travels!

 

Great Lakes Air

It was nice having an ice bridge for a couple of days, but it’s back to waiting at the airport!

In order to leave Mackinac Island when there are no boats running and with no ice bridge, residents must take the plane. Great Lakes Air offers a very reasonable priced round trip ride, only lasts for 5 minutes, and let’s face it, it’s kind of fun flying around in an itty-bitty plane. You also have to be very careful about when you decide to leave… several weeks ago I was going to spend a weekend at my parents’ in Petoskey, and woke up early to catch the 8am plane one Friday morning. Much to my dismay, the weather was horrible that day and after 8 hours of hoping and waiting at the airport, I never made it off the island. I tried again the next morning, bright and early once again, and 2 hours later I did end up making it off the island. Needless to say, I caught up on my reading that weekend!

I have an account at this great site called Dermandar, and basically what it is, is a fancy panoramic photo app on my phone that also allows people to view your photos online. The one feature that I like is that these panoramic photos are interactive… once you click on the photo itself, you can click and drag from left to right to view the photo, and you can even expand the photo to fit your entire screen, making it look as though you’re right there! I’ve had a lot of fun with it for the past year, and here’s one that I made last week on the plane ride off Mackinac Island:

And some pictures of the flight back to Mackinac Island:

Ice Hockey in St. Igance
Ice Hockey in St. Igance

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mackinac island blog plane

Landing on the other side
Landing on the other side

The Grand Hotel and Sunset Rock

The middle of February proves to be a somewhat boring month, once Valentine’s Day has passed. You realize that the only thing coming up is… well, March. Late February, to me, seems like the opportune time to schedule dentists appointments. But it turns out it’s really not so bad, because my birthday is also during this month! I had a wonderful little gathering of friends come over, and we all sat down and sipped wine, played guitar, ate my homemade chocolate donuts, and had a good time.

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Earlier that day, I decided to venture down the street and clear my head. Although I’ve lived here for 28 summers, this has only been my second winter on Mackinac Island. I gained a lot of insight and perspective out of the first year, but there’s still a lot to take in. Every day, I feel like I find something beautiful and new. I guess that’s why people love living here in the winter… there are hardly any tourists around. The island seems as though it’s all ours. We have time to stop and enjoy the surroundings. It’s home.

I found my way out to the breakwall again, and remembered how frozen the lake was last year. I was able to walk all the way down and back again. This year it wasn’t quite the same, but I did manage to make my way “off the island” to some degree. I always enjoy taking those pictures because it’s one angle of the island I’m not always able to catch. I treaded as carefully and walked out as far as I could before turning back around for a photo:

I ended up having a lot of time to myself this weekend… and I was very happy for it! I knew that a hike would be inevitable. But where to hike? I hadn’t really gone anywhere yet this year, so I decided with my favorite spot: Sunset Rock.

As I made my way up there, I decided to take an alternate route and go around West Bluff, where I was able to catch several pictures of the Grand Hotel. The hotel is clearly closed for the winter, but there’s still plenty of people working their butts off to make sure it’s in top shape come Spring! It never ceases to amaze me how big it is. Below are some photos of the hotel, plus some horseshoe prints left in the snow:

Throughout my hike, I just kept getting caught up in these little trails that pop up all over the place. If you’ve never been through the middle of Mackinac Island… you should! It’s as much fun finding the trails on the map as it is walking them. I have my favorites, but every now and then I’ll travel off the path towards something little that catches my eye:

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Sunset Rock itself is a beautiful spot. You can see everything! The bridge, Mackinaw City, St. Ignace, the shoreline below, the frozen (or not so frozen) lake, and you can be sure to always catch a nice breeze, too! It’s quite a quaint little spot, really. Once you get there, you find yourself in front of a stairway that takes you right up to Sunset Rock (the rock itself has its name written into it). Although I’ve never climbed to the top of a mountain before, I imagine the satisfaction that you get from doing so feels the same as how I feel when I’m at Sunset Rock:

And I just happened to be there when the plane was leaving the island, too. Looks like I’ll be getting back on that plane next weekend… for my dentist appointment….. 

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