Facing My Fears: Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac (photo from Wikipedia)

This incredibly beautiful, albeit slightly terrifying bridge, spans 5 miles across the chilly waters of the Straits of Mackinac. It connects the upper peninsula of Michigan to the lower portion of the state.  Many of the locals refer to it as the “Mighty Mac”, very fitting: the two towers of the bridge rise an impressive 550 feet high making them easily visible from many sites in the vicinity. Quite impressive yet to many folks, myself included, it’s an intimidating and scary bridge to cross. Maybe I have “Gephyrophobia” (pronounced Jeff-ee-ro-pho-bia), the fear of crossing bridges or going through tunnels. For me it is not a debilitating phobia, but definitely an anxiety that causes a tense muscled trip across big bridges and white knuckles on the steering wheel. A recent trip to Mackinac Island required us to go across this stunning bridge. I also found out from the helpful ladies at our hotel desk that many people, mostly tourists, are so intimidated by this bridge that the Port Authority offers a service to drive your car across for you if needed. I guess I am not alone in feeling this way.  My husband became my knight in shining armor when he agreed to drive across. You would think I could relax and enjoy the view. Unfortunately that was not really the case. I tried….I remembered to breathe…then snapped a few photos along the way. You can tell by the photo below, not a great one, that I was just thinking eyes forward and lets get to the other side.  Nevertheless, I am very glad he was driving. And I live to tell the tale…amazing.

My view from the passenger side…

Another interesting feature about the bridge is that below one of the towers is the shipwreck Minneapolis, a combination steam and sail vessel that went down during an ice storm in 1894. This is not the only shipwreck in this area, the Straits of Mackinac are legendary for their severe storms and 25 known shipwrecks have been recorded in the area. I would imagine that if you went diving in the area there would be lots of intriguing discoveries. Our ferry boat trip to the island provided great views of both the Mackinac Bridge and several quaint lighthouses in the area, but no shipwreck sightings. Perhaps part of the reason that wrecks are not readily visible is the fact that at its deepest part the water in the Straits is 295 feet deep. That’s WAY far down for a ship to lay in its watery grave. Maybe that’s another reason big bridges like this one give me the heebie geebies. Nevertheless, we survived and had a wonderful day at Mackinac Island: the topic of my next post….Put your traveling shoes on. JES

4 Comments on “Facing My Fears: Mackinac Bridge

  1. i’m not generally frightened by bridges. I recently drove between Miami and Key West (and back) with no problem, but this one is different. Maybe because the last time we crossed it was so windy we had to wait our turn to be escorted across.

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  2. I’m not generally frightened by bridges. I recently drove between Miami and Key West without a problem, and I don’t recall the Golden Gate bothering me. We even walked that one. But the Mackinac scares me. Perhaps it’s because the last time we crossed it was October and so windy we had to wait our turn to be escorted across.

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  3. I see that you finished your article about that huge bridge.  I know I must have gone over it.  I am usually scared of bridges.  Maybe my terror erased it from my memory.!!  Great article with lots of info.   Love, Mom

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  4. Pingback: The Timeless Retreat of Mackinac Island – American Trekker

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