Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Mountain Biking Mackinac Find...
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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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