Book cover for 'Walking to Mackinac'
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Michigan and the Great Lakes

Walking to Mackinac

David E. Bonior
Congressman David E. Bonior and his wife walk the rails, trails, and back roads of Michigan's Lower Peninsula


According to his wife, U. S. Representative David E. Bonior is a contemplative man who has had some pretty "harebrained" ideas. It was just such an idea that led Bonior and his wife Judy to walk the 325 miles from their home in Mount Clemens—a suburb of Detroit—to the quaint coastal sidewalks of Mackinaw City, the Lower Peninsula's northernmost point. Walking to Mackinac chronicles the Boniors' three-week journey to connect with the people and the history of their home state, to explore Michigan at human pace, and to appreciate it more fully.

The Boniors plotted their own course, stringing together trails, back roads, and abandoned railway beds. They both carried twenty-five to thirty-five pounds on their backs, so they limited each day's effort to a walkable distance that would end at a campsite or motel. Both in their early fifties, neither of the Boniors had ever undertaken a trek of this magnitude or done any camping to speak of. Their daily challenges were humorous, daunting, and even frightening.

While the book focuses on the Boniors' journey, what moves the narrative forward is the story of Michigan. The journey serves to link the Underground Railroad and waterways, the fur trade and the lumber industry, agriculture and the automobile, and of course the people all along the way.

If you have ever taken a trip on a whim, or if you have even just thought about ignoring the "sensible" voice inside your head, Walking to Mackinac is sure to delight you. Both entertaining and informative, the Boniors' story reminds us once again that even the longest journey begins with a single step.

David E. Bonior is the Democratic Whip in the U. S. House of Representatives. He represents Michigan's Tenth Congressional District and lives in Mount Clemens, Michigan, with his wife Judy.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . an intriguing concept in a state where most people hop in their car and speed down the nearest freeway when heading north to Mackinac blasting past the scenes Bonior walks through. . . . If you like Michigan, if you like challenges, if you are not so politically partisan that you can't stomach differing views, Walking to Mackinac might have appeal. It shows a Congressman, sometimes reviled by opponents, in the light of a rainy, Michigan summer walking along highways, forest paths and rural roads in a way that the reader can enjoy."
    —Steve Begnoche, News (Ludington MI), April 18, 2002
  • "The Boniors recount their daily encounters with the elements of weather, nature and interesting Michiganders, mixed with an interesting interspersing of historical accounts of the local areas they passed through. Reading it helped rekindle my sense of pride in Michigan's heritage and environment."
    —Mel Miller, Macomb Intermediate School District, News & Free Press (Detroit) , November 17, 2002
  • "The book is an utterly fascinating read that is nearly impossible to put down. . . . In a nutshell, this book should become required reading for all students of Michigan."
    —Janet Martineau, The Saginaw News, July 21, 2001
  • "It is hard to wax poetic over. . . A sometimes funny, sometimes painful recitation of what they find along the way. . . . They share stories with campers and restaurant owners and convenience store clerks along the way. They tell people to follow their dreams."
    —Kathy Barks Hoffman, Associated Press

Look Inside

Copyright © 2001, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 272pp.
  • 37 photographs, 21 maps.
Available for sale worldwide

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  • Paper
  • 2001
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08797-6

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  • $18.95 U.S.