Monday, August 25, 2014

Michigan's Upper Peninsula: Castle Rock and Mackinac Island

After exploring the Soo we set up camp in Castle Rock, MI, where we celebrated Adam's birthday with a tent party
and cake (a purchased cake--ha ha--I did not decorate that on a picnic table).
The campsite was right on Lake Huron and we heard the waves throughout the night.
The next day we set out on one of the highlights of our vacation: a day trip to Mackinac Island! We boarded the ferry with our bikes
and set out for what would become over 6 hours of biking! No motorized vehicles are permitted on Mackinac, so the streets are lined with bikes and horses.
Eric said the island reminded him of Disneyland, but it was even more breathtaking--it's real! People live here and have for hundreds of years, yet it's beautifully preserved. The entire island is a National Historic Landmark.
I was shocked at the younger kids--I wonder how many times they had to pedal those 12" bike wheels in 6 hours of biking? They were champs--we rode up the entire eastern shore and then back through the center of the island.
It rained for a few hours, but we ponchoed-up and had a great time. Here we are after parking the bikes and hiking up to Arch Rock. 
We also detoured to build cairns on Lake Huron (there were thousands lining the shore!),
climb a few trees,
explore around the Revolutionary War–era Fort Mackinac,

and see various other historic sites like this bark missionary church.
Pulling into the downtown area, Adam knew that there was fudge ahead.
The endearing term "fudgie" is used to describe Mackinac tourists, after the island's trademark treat. "Fudgie stripe" is what they call the stripe of mud left on the back of a fudgie's shirt after biking all day. We definitely had "fudgie stripes" by the end of the day, which I didn't think to photograph! This was a day for the books. After 12 years of marriage, Eric continues to make my dreams come true in daily, happy ways. Being on Mackinac Island with Eric was a standout dream-come-true day!
The kids loved it too.
We closed out our time in the Castle Rock area with rainy morning Skip-bo over a tent floor that felt like a waterbed!
Then we made the climb up Castle Rock
(who thinks of attractions like this?)
shot a picture with Paul Bunyan and Babe,
and set off for more adventure in the northern U.P.

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