Monday, September 3, 2018

The Day The Troll Kissed The Yooper

 Suspension Tower, Mackinac Bridge
photo by Mary Vee

Labor Day is the one day each year the Mackinac Bridge is closed to all motor vehicle traffic from 6am to 12 noon. This annual event began back in 1958

The Mackinac Bridge is a suspension bridge connecting the lower peninsula of Michigan with the upper peninsula. To the east, Lake Huron flows, to the west, Lake Michigan

The people who live on the north and south sides have a fun rivalry.

Photo by Mary Starting the walk

If one lives in the lower peninsula that person is called a troll because he/she lives "under" the bridge.

If one lives in the upper peninsula, that person is called a Yooper, a distortion of the word upper.

On Labor Day the Yoopers and Trolls along with a host of visitors walk the 5 mile Mackinac Bridge. The ceremony always starts with the governor of Michigan leading the walk. One year President Bush walked with the then governor!

An announcer called out to people, asking where they were from. Walkers from Georgia and all around the country came to walk the bridge. 


Well, to say we did it.

To meet many new people.

Bridge Light
Photo By Mary Vee

To take photos that could never be taken otherwise 

Photo By Mary Vee, Lake Huron
eastern view from the bridge

And this year, to witness a young man propose to his girl. I cheered with the crowd around them when she said yes and hugged her man.

Another new component of the bridge walk this year seemed to be a genius cost-cutting idea.

Previously all participants walked the northbound side from north to south. Busses ran all morning ferrying people to St. Ignace. Car/truck traffic also continued to move across the bridge on the southbound side.

sheriff 4 man horse patrol
Photo by Mary Vee

This year, organizers closed the entire bridge for the safety of the walkers. Participates starting on the troll side walked to the halfway point on the southbound side of the bridge the turned and walked back on the northbound side. Likewise, participants starting on the yooper side walked to the halfway point, turned and walked back. Safety was paramount. Sherrif boats in the water, helicopters overhead, sniper police on top of the towers, armed police stationed every twenty feet, ambulances, patrol cars. One walker asked the armed police what was in his bag. The officer said, "Medical equipment." Looked more like a weapon to us.

police sniper on the ground with rifle pack
Photo by Mary Vee

police sniper on top of the tower
Photo by Mary Vee

In the middle, the trolls and yoopers met. We waved and cheered each other on to finish the walk. If one truly wanted, they could sneak past the heavily armed police and steal a kiss. 

Sunrise on 127, Photo by Mary Vee

Photo by Mary Vee
Leaving at sunrise got us there in time to take over a parking spot abandoned by an early walker, and comfortably walk the bridge. 80,000 are estimated to have attended this year's event. Many, like us, came home with four slices of Mackinac Fudge and a certificate.

To me, the most enjoyable components were: 

Watching the monarch butterflies flutter over and around the walkers

Photo by Mary Vee

Standing on the grates and looking down at the water 554 feet below.

Neither could be done from a car.

Want to join me next year? 

Labor Day Monday. 6-12noon. Either start at Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula or St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula. You'll have a blast. Not to mention an opportunity to buy Mackinaw Fudge. Yum.

This post has been brought to you by the one word: TrollsAndYoopers



quietspirit said...

Mary: We went to Mackinac on a July 4th weekend several years ago. I remember going across that bridge. How many times have you been there for the walk? How far is it across that bridge?

Mary Vee Writer said...

The bridge walk is 5 miles. We've walked the bridge three different times.