Camping and Biking…and Mackinac Island

If you enjoy being outdoors, camping, and beauty as far as the eye can see, then you should probably press pause on your life and come spend some time in Michigan. I feel so lucky that I’ve grown to love this state so much in the just more than three years I’ve been here. If I hadn’t moved to Michigan, I may not have learned how much I enjoyed camping and I probably would have never attempted cycling (a lady I used to work with in North Carolina would call this SERENDIPITY, and in this instance, I’d have to agree). Thankfully, this past weekend combined both of those activities.

We met up with our friends at Wilderness State Park (which was an absolute delight! We were only able to stay for one night, but will definitely go again). We scored the only available campsite in the park, which happened to have it’s own path right down to Lake Michigan. I took this gorgeous Saturday morning sunrise picture after waking up bright and early and walking down to the water:

Gorgeous, right? Michigan is a real gem of a state — so underrated! There is so much natural beauty here, it’s unreal. But that is another blog post for another day.

Anywho, Josh left the campsite first on Saturday morning. He wanted to bike into Mackinac City to get a little work done before we embarked on our Mackinac Island adventure for the day. I left soon after him on my bike. Google maps said it would be just over an 8 mile ride from the park to Mackinac City. Turns out, it was closer to a 10 or 11 mile ride, because google maps didn’t factor in the 2 mile section from the gate of the park to the campsite. Saturday was a hot one, even at 9:30 a.m. when I was biking. I made the ride in 40 minutes or so, found Josh, and met up with our friends who drove into town. We putzed around a bit and went into all the kitschy tourist shops. Cheap t-shirts and sunglasses were bought. Then we took the ferry to Mackinac Island!

Have you ever heard of or been to Mackinac Island? It’s a vacation destination for any Michigander. Once you step onto the island, you feel as though you have been transported back in time. There are no cars on the island (save an emergency vehicle or two). Folks get around by foot, bike, or horse and buggy. Yes, I said buggy!

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There’s a good handful of shops, restaurants, and inns/hotels/B&Bs. One of the most famous and well known establishments on the island is The Grand Hotel. It costs $10.00 to go inside if you are not a guest, so we stuck with taking pictures from the sidewalk.

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Our friends rented a tandem bike and all 4 of us biked the slightly more than 8 miles around the island, stopping along the way to ascend the 207 steps to arch rock (in which I found out I don’t have a very accurate sense of what climbing 200+ stairs would be like, but managed to survive).

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By the time we finished biking around the island, along with a few detours along the way, I was up to 20+ miles of biking. And…I was bottoming out. As I mentioned, it was a HOT day, and I think I wasn’t consuming quite enough calories to keep myself feeling healthy. Josh had offered to bike back to the park where our car was still located and drive back to pick me up once we were back in Mackinac City, and I was very close to accepting his offer. But then a miracle happened:

I ate a few free samples of fudge and almost instantly started feeling a bit better. After that I devoured a super dense protein bar my sweet husband shared with me, and then I was back in tip top(ish) shape! We ferried back to the mainland, and Josh and I set off on our bike adventure back to the park, while our friends went on ahead to Petoskey, our destination for the night. The bike ride back with Josh was so much more fun and enjoyable than the bike ride I’d taken by myself earlier that day — a good reminder that while solo bike rides are sometimes what I need to clear my headspace, sometimes you need a biking buddy.

When all was said and done, I’d biked nearly 34 miles in the day! While this is an easy pleasure ride for some, it was a new record for me and I was pretty darn proud of myself and thankful for the human body and all it is capable of accomplishing.

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In conclusion: Say, “yes!” to Michigan and keep on biking. Oh, and fudge can, and will, save the day.

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Camping and Biking…and Mackinac Island

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