Trailing Ted 6/14/2010

Having only been on a bike once so far this summer, and with Cathie not having been on a bike since she was here last summer, she and I daringly climbed aboard to follow Ted on his much-planned “show Cathie Friendship Altar and Little Arch Rock” adventure.  Friendship Altar is a hard-to- find spot in the woods Ted and I had discovered last fall, after detailed directions from an island resident.  Ted had only discovered Little Arch Rock last week, again on a tip from a life-long island native, so I had never been there.  “It’ll be fun!” he said.  Those words from Ted usually mean  I will end up either:  1) happy I tagged along to discover another island treasure, or 2) not speaking to my husband until the next time it snows at the equator. 

We  bought a used bicycle at the end of the season last year, so Cathie didn’t have to rent a bike for our little adventure into the great unknown.  We started off in the Village and headed toward the airport.

Cathie stopped two blocks from the condo to get a pic of these beautiful poppies in front of a neighbor's house.

We rode a mile or so, passed the airport, then Ted took a sharp left into what looked like dense woods.  Cathie, following close behind, tried to make the turn – and didn’t quite make it.

A perfect fall onto soft earth and grass. I gave her a 9.7 on grace.

We were soon into the forest primeval – seriously. 

We stopped occasionally for a Kodak moment. Ted would wait impatiently in the background, muttering, "It's a log. Why are you taking a picture of a log?"

The further we got into the woods, the more narrow the path became.

We kept climbing up the trail, while Ted went on and on about Little Arch Rock and what a "find" it was.

Cathie and I kept whispering to each other, "This is fun! This is fun!"

Eventually we rounded a bend in the trail and came upon a little pond of water surrounded by wildflowers.  We asked Ted, “Is this where Little Arch Rock is?” 

“No”, he replied, “This is a little pond of water surrounded by wildflowers.”

Little pond of water, etc. etc. etc.

After nearly an hour of hiking, the path became so dense Ted would have to go ahead of us, park his bike, then come back to pick our bikes up over fallen logs and big rocks.

Ted - lifting Cathie's bike over some fallen trees.

Our "trail" at the most narrow point.

Somwhere about here in our “quest”, my cell phone rang.  It seems, even in the middle of nowhere, the modern world can find you.  It was a nice lady from the Mackinac Historic State Parks with a question about the flag they are flying over the fort on Monday for Cathie and Charlie’s grandson.

"No, we didn't know Monday was Flag Day. That's wonderful! Oh, by the way, could you see if the Coast Guard might be available for a deep woods search and rescue later today?"

Finally, Ted turned and said, “There it is!  Little Arch Rock!  Now, aren’t you glad you came!”

Cathie and I followed the direction his finger was pointing – up a steep hill.  The only thing we saw was a rock.

“Where’s the arch?” we both said almost simultaneously.

“Well, you can’t exactly see it from here.  I had to climb that hill, hang upside down from that tree branch, and swing way over to the left before I spotted it” (just kidding except for the part about climbing the hill).

BUT – neither Cathie nor I wanted to climb the hill to find the arch, so we just took a picture of the rock. 

You can't see the arch either? Geez, where's your imagination!

 I have to tell you that Ted was a little disgusted over our lack of enthusiasm over “little arch”, so instead of taking us the scenic route to see Friendship Altar, he took a short cut, and we were there in five minutes.  Ted and I discovered this rock formation back in the fall of last year, and Cathie loved seeing it and climbing the platform tower for the view over the Straits.

This photo gives you some perspective of just how large this rock called The Friendship Altar really is.


From the Friendship Altar, you take a set of steps up, bringing you to this platform tower.


The view is worth all the climbing. Over the tops of the trees, looking past a little strip of the Straits of Mackinac, you can see St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula.

From Friendship Altar, we bypassed British Landing and started back to town (three miles away) on the highway that runs around the island.  While Ted rode on into town to the post office, Cathie and I took a shortcut that brought us out at the the Grand Hotel pool and gardens.  Just before we turned off the highway, we stopped at Devil’s Kitchen for this photo.

Cathie and I - standing inside Devil's Kitchen.


The Grand pool is heated all summer. In 1947, the movie This Time for Keeps, starring Jimmy Durante and Esther Williams, was made at the Grand Hotel. This pool was where Williams, a famous swimmer of that era, did all of her water location shots.


Cathie - photographing the beautiful gardens around the pool.

We didn't have flowers like this last year until the middle of July. The weather has been perfect this Spring for early bloomers!

We walked into a part of the gardens at the Grand I had not explored before. I have often heard of the Grand Maze, and now I've seen it!

We also discovered this beautifully carved wooden bench, where you can sit in the shade and just enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Cathie and I arrived back at the condo, tired but very pleased with ourselves for having completed our journey without Coast Guard assistance.  Ted was a little hurt we weren’t more impressed with Little Arch Rock, but he was happy we enjoyed our adventure and that he doesn’t have to wait until it snows in Ecuador before he hears me say “This is fun!” again.  This morning he got up and asked us over coffee if we wanted to go with him to see the “Twin Rocks”.  Cathie and I just poured ourselves another cup of coffee – and grinned.

Note:  There will not be a blog post on Tuesday morning.  We leave for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on Monday morning, June 14, to visit Whitefish Point Lighthouse, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, the legendary Pictured Rocks, and Tahquamenon Falls (the second largest falls east of the Mississippi – with Niagara Fall being the largest).  It’s going to be a long, long day, so I’m going to skip blogging for one night.  I’ll be back here, good Lord willing, on Wednesday morning with news from our trip.  See you then!


23 thoughts on “Trailing Ted 6/14/2010

  1. Love your woodsy photos, but do remind me not to go bike riding with you – would hate to have my rear-end shown to the world on your blog! LOL Cathie is a good sport!

    If you thought Saturday’s little trek through the woods was strenuous, I hope you have enough energy left for Tahquamanon (‘Root Beer’) Falls! You do know that it’s at least a half mile hike from the nearest road?!

    • LOL – Everyone in the group has been there before except me – they haven’t mentioned that little detail, Irene. Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. What a great story Brenda, I had to laughed out loud a few times! Irene is right, Cathie is a good sport and I bet she enjoyed every minute of it. I would love to find those treasures when we come up.

    We also wanted to spend part of a day in the UP before heading to the island and I have been looking around Paradise, MI. Isn’t that in the area you will be going because I was also looking at the falls and thats where I thought they were?

  3. Loved your trek into the woods. You will love Whitefish. I never miss going there. They have a b&b in one of the buildings. We spent the night there a couple of years ago. It was so wonderful to go to sleep hearing the waves of Lake Superior hitting the beach. I bet they didn’t mention the steps down to the falls. They always kill me but I never miss them. Enjoy your visit to the UP.

  4. Loved this blog entry! Laughed (with you, not at you!) all the way! But after all that effort I think you should have climbed up to see the Little Arch – it’s not like you’re EVER GOING TO BIKE UP THERE AGAIN! LOL!

    You’re going to do all of that in one day in the UP? I did Whitefish point and Tajquamenon in one day last March (COLD!) but couldn’t get all the way over to Picture Rock the same day…and we didn’t even do the museum! You are excellent travelers! Have fun!!

  5. Enjoy your trip to Tahquamenon! While there is a walk into the falls, it’s all on blacktop and not like you did to Little Arch Rock! We took our kids there last October on our UP Tour after Mackinac. It snowed. Got to Paradise to see the museum…no power. The bathrooms weren’t usable but the gift shop had power! They’ll direct you to the outhouse at the boat launch. It’s a long way to Paradise 🙂

  6. Cathie is a great friend to let you show that picture of her hind end on the blog 🙂 I’m glad she wasn’t hurt falling off the bike and that you did enjoy the view after you got finally got there!
    Happy Monday!!

  7. The wildflowers are so beautiful, and I too had to laugh out loud while reading this one. What fun!

    I’m sure you’ll enjoy your time in the UP. We have cousins who live in St. Ignace. We stayed with them a few years ago and they took us to Whitefish Point and Tahquamenon Falls. They are both wonderful.

  8. You are showing your friends a wonderful Northern Michigan adventure! In all our travelling up north, we’ve never made it to Picture Rocks. I can’t wait to see your blog!

    I agree with Irene – Cathie is a good sport! She also has wonderful tour guides.

  9. I had to laugh so many times. I kept hearing my husband and I in your words…”It’s fun…it’s fun…” Ha!
    Make sure you take bug spray or wear a net at the falls. The black flies can be awful. But Whitefish Point will be beautiful.

  10. I hope Cathy is not too sore from her fall and bike ride.

    Enjoyed the blog as usual, lots of lol spots!! Great photos. Loved the one of the “little pond surrounded by wildflowers”.

    You’ll LOVE the U.P. I don’t see how you can make it over to the pic. rocks in the same day with all you have planned! You may need a B & B!!

  11. Hi! You will just LOVE Whitefish point, and the Taq. Falls!!! It is sooooooo beautiful and awesome picture taking spots!! Pictured rocks is so cool also but it will take a while to get there. Have lots and lots of fun! Great pictures also!!!! I love your blog. June 27th I will be on the Island!~ Michelle

  12. Do you ever wonder how people find your blog? Last fall, when I Googled “Mackinac Island Friendship Alter” your site was the first one listed. Over the next days I read the blogs for the entire summer. It was a lot like reading a wonderful book and I hated to see it end. Now I’m a fan and a regular reader. I’m so glad you are back for another summer. I’ll be visiting the island for the second time, my husband’s first time, in August.

    • I can’t tell you how many times I wonder that, Chevy! Thanks for giving me your story of how you found me! I know you can’t wait to show off the island to your husband in August!

  13. Loved your blog. I heard years ago of a second arch rock on the island and I always wanted to find it. From your story, it appears that it is close to friendship alter. Can you describe any better where I could find it?

    • It is very close to friendship altar, but I couldn’t begin to tell you how to get there, Marcel. I’m going to forward your question on to Ted. Maybe his directions will help.

  14. Hi. I was just googling information on Mackinac Island and came across your blog. From what I gather, I’m assuming you live there. Bear with me if I seem like Captain Obvious =) My fiance and I are coming to the Island for our honeymoon, but we aren’t staying in the Grand Hotel because it’s a bit out of our price range. My question is… do you know if you can still make an appointment at their spa even if you aren’t staying in the hotel? Or… are there any other spas on the island that you would recommend? For that matter… heck, anything you would recommend us doing while we’re there? We are coming the first week of May so we know a lot of stuff isn’t up and running yet since it’s pre-season, but we just wanted to go somewhere we could enjoy the outdoors and get away from life for a few days and a lot of people recommended this place =) Any information you can provide us would be greatly appreciated and if you’d like to email me personally, please feel free to do so ( We’re on a bit of a tight budget, so suggesting things outrageously expensive won’t necessarily be applicable for us! I’m setting up a registry on which is like a wish list of all the things you’d love to do on your honeymoon and instead of gifts, your guests send you funds for your honeymoon. I’ll put things I know we can’t afford on the off-chance that someone may be generous enough to donate to the cause, so to speak!! Thanks for your time and hope to hear back soon =)

    • Hi Samantha! Aren’t you lucky to be spending your honeymoon on Mackinac Island! My husband and I live on the island from the middle of May through the end of October. Could you tell me a little more about your visit? Where are you staying? How many days? I’d love to try and find you some nice things to do within your budget, but it might take a little time to make some contacts.

    • I love the Cottage Inn! The innkeepers, Marge and Rich, are good friends and will treat you like they’ve known you all their lives. Let me think about things for a few days and see what I can come up with.

    • The Grand Maze and that bench are between the pool and the west side of the porch. You have to go down the steps in front of the Grand (like you’re going to the pool), then hang a right and walk into the wooded area on that side.

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