It was just barely into the Labor Day holiday when I popped into my car to set out on a drive of several hours. My destination? A bridge. Most people would think that a bridge isn’t a destination but rather a part of a route to your typical destination. That is true for the most part but this isn’t just a bridge, this is a BRIDGE.
Every year tens of thousands have come to the narrowest point between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas to walk across the 5 mile bridge that connects the two. This year’s estimate was 36,000 people ran or walked across the bridge.
The walk began with Rick Snyder, the Governor of Michigan, and his entourage starting the walk across. After that the throngs followed in his wake.
At that point I had been there for a couple hours, found my parking place, took some night time pics of the bridge, checked in with law enforcement on where I could take photos, and had breakfast at a restaurant just across from the finish line.
It was a cold morning with a biting wind when the Governor started across the bridge and they made their passage across the bridge in just a bit over an hour.
After the Governor crossed the bridge he held a small press conference and photo shoot. I felt a bit like Zacheus as I was too short to shoot over the others and could not get close enough to get in more than a lucky shot or two.
Since they had a bandstand set up I figured they would yet get the Governor on stage and so went there and set up in front in advance and so staked out a bit of land directly in front of the stage.
After the City officials and local postal official made their presentations the Governor spoke briefly, thanking many of the organizers and such as well as the National Guardsmen that were guarding the route. My favorite comment was when Governor Snyder said that next year they were going to do the walk in less than an hour as that elicited groans from his daughters Melissa and Kelsey.
If I heard and remember it correctly, this gentleman is 82 years old and still going strong. To prove it he was still smiling and gave me the Peace sign as he blew past me to the finish line.
He finished the race in 58 minutes and 56 seconds if the timers and my camera were in sync.
National Guard Men and Women were on hand to keep the crowds safe as they walked alongside the busy, bridge traffic and frequently above and beyond the call of duty, even taking photos for the tourist.
I also saw a number of people stopping to shake hands, chat, and thank the Guards as they went past.
My timing was off on this one, but if memory serves me correctly, this smiling fellow just got a thank you hug. I arrived on the last bus and was at the tail end of the Bridge Walk and took photos of most of the soldiers on the bridge while trying to avoid upsetting the nice State Troopers that were bringing up the rear in their patrol car.
The candid photos of the soldiers in this article, though, were shot while in the bus crossing the bridge. I was about six seats back from the front window, the bus was bouncing, and I had to aim and focus my telephoto lense in such a way that I was shooting within the confined area of the ark the wiper blade had left as it was the clean spot on the windshield so, when you look at them, don’t be surprised if you see an occasional blurred spot from the window or the edge of the dashboard. It took my feeble laptop overnight to process the images but now there are 1,000+ photos for your perusal in my Mackinac Bridge Walk Album. If anyone desires to have their names added as a comment to the photos in the album or if any of the Guards wants a printable copy of their photo, post a comment to this article (requires signing up for the site to prevent spamming) and I will email you the full sized version (no charge and thanks for all you do!)
I had a mini gallery here with several photos but someone thought that was the gallery mentioned above but it wasn’t/isn’t by any means so if you want to see more pics from the event, go to: