2017-09-07 / Outdoors

L-L bridge walk beats rainstorm


“MARLEY” and her master Debbie Hickenlooper were all smiles after the Lake Leelanau bridge walk. “MARLEY” and her master Debbie Hickenlooper were all smiles after the Lake Leelanau bridge walk. Marley trailed a bit behind the pack at the Lake Leelanau bridge walk, which covered all of a couple blocks and about 50 steps over the Narrows separating the basins for the village’s namesake lake.

He looked like he could have done laps around the slow-moving crowd, The afghan hound was bred to run fast, so at 4-years-old he needed restraining.

“We kept him at the back because he gets nervous,” explained Debbie Hickenlooper. She and husband Jay were renting a home this summer in Lake Leelanau after selling the family cottage in Leland; they’ve since bought a new house in the county.

The weather for the walk, which looked to bring out about 40 people and one-third as many dogs, was typical of Leelanau’s summer — cool with a chance of rain.


BRIDGE WALKERS in Lake Leelanau occupied only one lane when heading across the narrows, causing traffic to slow down more than stop for the occasion. BRIDGE WALKERS in Lake Leelanau occupied only one lane when heading across the narrows, causing traffic to slow down more than stop for the occasion. The Hickenloopers, whose permanent address is in Tampa, Fla., have appreciated every day.

“It’s been wonderful,” said Jay.

Added Deb, “We keep looking at the weather in Florida and it’s in the 90s. Why would we go back there?” she said.

Walkers started at the Fig restaurant located on the west side of the Narrows and were escorted west by a township fire truck and Sheriff’s office patrol car. They kicked off promptly at ... 9:05 a.m. At the “finish line,” the Pedaling Beans coffee shop offered free coffee and Jill and Ken DeLeary, owners of Red Top Pasteria, sold their signature breakfast pasties.

“They always sit around and talk before it starts,” explained a man walking toward Figs with a dog around 9 a.m., the announced starting time.

The walk is designed to be laid back, especially compared to the five-mile Mackinac Bridge Walk led by Gov. Rick Snyder that causes considerable traffic disruption for folks headed south after the extended holiday weekend.

In Lake Leelanau, a few cars lined up waiting for the bridge to clear.

While Labor Day is considered the unofficial close to the summer season, locals are looking forward to a September with less traffic and tourists.

“No, this is when the good stuff starts,” said Leland Township supervisor Susan Och.

— Story and photos by Alan Campbell

Return to top