Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

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Mountain Biking Mackinac Find the ?real? island offroad on 2 wheels

Mike Terrell - August 29th, 2011
Mountain Biking Mackinac: Find the ‘real’ island offroad on 2 wheels
By Mike Terrell

It may be hard to think of Mackinac Island as a mountain biking destination when you think of the crowded village, fudge shops, horse traffic, and the flat, paved ride around the exterior of the island.
However, once you leave the village and climb up into the interior of the rock-bound island, beyond the fort and Arch Rock, the crowds and aroma of cooking fudge quickly disappear. You may see a horse-back rider, but they have their own set of forest trails. It’s a totally different look at this historic, hump-backed island.
After disembarking the boat head over to the island’s Chamber of Commerce information center located along the main street near the ferry docks and pick up a map of the island with all the interior trails. Most of the trails are marked with trail signs and are fairly easy to follow. You’ll see old stone walls and foundations, an old soldier’s garden area cleared in the late 1700s, Skull Cave, and little known treats like Cave-in-the-Woods and Crack-in-the-Island. I’ve found island residents that didn’t know these formations existed.

THE QUIET INTERIOR
During the summer, ferry boats deposit thousands of visitors daily on the island, but you may encounter only a handful up in the forested interior. Most stay in the village area.
The first mile-and-a-half is paved along the eastern bluff of the island. Head up to Huron Road and follow it to Arch Rock and Leslie Avenue; a narrow strip of twisting pavement that hugs the bluff offering views of Lake Huron’s steely blue waters and more islands off in the distance. It’s a cruising delight.
Soon you encounter North Bicycle Trail heading off to the left and the off-road adventure begins. Follow it to Blodgett Trail and eventually head right on Soldier’s Garden Trail, which is a fun, rock-bound ride with dips and small jumps. In about a mile you cross Leslie Avenue and drop down onto Tranquil Bluff Trail, which rolls along a bluff above the north end of the island.
It meanders along the bluff for over a mile. Wild flowers abound along the trail and Lake Huron glimmers through the trees. Often you can hear flatlanders peddling along the paved road below as they circle the island. Along the way you pass Eagle Point Cave, marked on your map. Rocks, roots, and off-camber climbs and descents keep the peddling interesting.

CAVE & CRACK
About five miles into the ride Tranquil Bluff Trail drops down onto British Landing Road, which you follow south – back towards the village – for a short distance to Lydia Trail that exits right off the road. Follow a series of intersecting trails to access Cave-in-the-Woods and Crack-in-the-Island.
Lydia Trail crosses State Road and becomes Straits Trail. At the Y-intersection follow the left fork, this becomes Niki’s Trail. After a short distance it T’s with Partridge Trail. Go left and in a little over a half-mile you come to the two unusual geological formations.
Cave-in-the-Woods shows old lake lines when a great inland sea called Algonquin covered the present Great Lakes. Just in back of the cave is Crack-in-the-Island, a deep fissure in the island’s limestone base.
Continue on the single-track and exit back out onto State Road just north of the island’s airstrip. Turn right and follow it to British Landing Road. Cross it and follow Leslie Avenue for about a half-mile to Scott’s Trail. Follow the single-track south to Jupiter Trail, turn left and end up at the paved portion of North Bicycle Trail and Sugarloaf, a huge monolith rock, and Skull Cave. It is considered sacred by Native Americans. It’s a little over a mile back to the village.
While it may not be as spectacular or quite as isolated as Grand Island near Munising, the mountain biking on Mackinac Island is surprisingly rugged and pristine. Most visitors never see the “real” island.
 
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