MiGreatPlaces: Walking The Ice From Charlevoix To Beaver Island

“The whole point of the trip was I wanted a beer on the island at the Shamrock for my birthday.”
Andrew Whitley's birthday is March 8th, and that would typically mean a flight from Charlevoix to make that wish happen. But a sense of adventure runs in this family. 
“Our dad did it quite a few years ago and it was something we've always talked about and it would be cool if we were able to do it,” explained Andrew
It's a feat that may be possible once in a lifetime.
“We told him we wanted to do it and he got this little grin and that was about it. He knew what we were getting into and he just laughed about it,” said Nick.
Andrew, his brother Nick and brother-in-law Paul Beauvais planned to walk the ice from Charlevoix to Beaver Island.  A 25 mile trek, in unforgiving winter conditions. 
Andrew said, “leaving was interesting. Dave Swanson, one of the guys who did it with our dad and uncle, he happened to be driving by and he did a double take he turned back and said you guys aren't thinking about going on a hike. We talked with him for a few seconds.”
“He made it sound like we were way over packed and overdressed,” said Paul.
But over prepared may be better than under prepared in this case.
“I feel like the first few miles is when we didn't know which way to go cause we didn't see the island yet. We were checking compasses a lot it was a little different once we got far enough out we could see the island,” said Andrew.
The guys took a couple of breaks to eat and drink, and got a little reassurance from up above.
“Island Airways and Fresh Air, they would buzz a little lower. When we saw them they'd be way off to one side and bank hard to come towards us so we knew they were checking on us.”
They endured grueling terrain on their great journey. “A lot of it was rough, especially close to shore.”
And while the sun said goodnight, their destination and determination were still very much awake.
“I think we were OK with the dark and the moon was bright and we had flashlights,” said Paul.
 
“It made it easier to see Jim with his lights on the island, so it made kind of a beacon to get to,” said Andrew.
14 hours and more than 53,000 steps after they started, the trio made it to Beaver Island, 
and toasted to their accomplishment. 
Andrew said, “definitely want to thank Jim McDonough again, the pilots for helping us out, just everyone who gave us a helping hand. We really appreciate it.”
After the guys enjoyed basking in their accomplishment, they hopped on a plane and flew back to Charlevoix.
An interesting fact, Andrew and Nick's third cousins were the first documented people to make that walk 40 years ago.  Their dad and uncle did it in 1977.