Our last day in St. Ignace we decided to head back across the Mackinac bridge despite their $4.00 toll per car each way. The day was beautiful and as we crossed this magnificent bridge the waters were reminiscent of the Caribbean since there were various shades of blue. Just across the bridge is the town of Mackinaw City. We wanted to check out the other town serving Mackinac Island but once in St Ignace the only way to see it was to go back across the toll bridge On this day we also wanted to drive along the waterfront southeast towards Cheboygan, Michigan as well.
After we crossed the bridge and entered Mackinaw City we pulled into a parking spot near the interstate just across from the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. We planned to take a self guided walk along a beach sidewalk created out by the chamber of commerce. We found the walk very enjoyable as we had many great views of the Straits of Mackinac, the Mackinac Bridge and the blue waters. We also encountered enumerable historical and informative plaques not only enjoyable to read but also educational. After making the 2-3 mile loop checking out over 50 historical plaques, taking in the views and sampling fudge in the shops we came back to the car.
Our thoughts about Mackinaw City… well let’s just say it is a touristy St.Ignace. Certainly there are many more shops and restaurants in Mackinaw City… but I preferred St. Ignace for its homey, slower-paced, less touristy feel. After leaving Mackinaw City we made the scenic drive over to Cheboygan and found this to be a less touristy town as well but one without a lot of energy. The drive over was nice and we did stop at a couple of grocery stores to support the local economy. Then we headed back to Kewadin Casino campground where we prepared for our departure.
The next morning we pulled out of the casino campground and made a short, detoured (due to road construction), 80 mile drive into the heart of the Yooper. The drive along Route 2 offered many scenic vistas of the ocean-like Lake Michigan. There were stretches where people had pulled over near sand dunes and were enjoying the surf on this windy day. As we ended our travel day we settled at Germfask, MI and if you could see this apparently dying town you might ask why we came here. Well the main reason for this stop is to explore the Seney National Wildlife Refuge where many of todays pictures are from. This refuge was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.
The refuge is beautiful and has a 7 mile driving loop as well as miles of bicycle trails. Unfortunately for us the weather included some rain and lots of gusty winds along with lows in the upper 50’s and highs only in the mid to upper 60’s which made bike riding not so pleasant. Even though we didn’t get to doo all we would have liked here we at least got see lots of Trumpeter Swans and their cygnets or youngsters. Also the Common Loons were plentiful along with their youngsters too… We even got to see a few Bald Eagles while touring the refuge.
It has been awhile since I visited a wildlife refuge and I was certainly ready for this nature “fix” even though we sort of find ourselves here in the middle of no where… The park we picked is Big Cedar Campground in Germfask, Michigan. It is a nice little park very close to the dying town with zero over-the-air TV stations! But for only $12 per night we will be able to explore the Seney National Wildlife Refuge to our hearts' content and as a bonus the fast moving Munising River flows adjacent to our campsite…