Mitten Walk: Grosse Pointe Man Hikes Across the State [MAP]

From Lake Michigan to Lake St. Clair on foot in 13 days.

Courtesy of Betsy Fortuna

Clem Fortuna is taking steps to end his summer in a pretty unique way: walking across the Lower Peninsula from South Haven on the shores of Lake Michigan to his home in Grosse Pointe Park.

An avid walker for years, Fortuna’s journey began on Sept. 8 at the South Haven Light House. He says he especially enjoyed visiting many smaller towns along the route for the first time.

Fortuna says several things motivated him to undertake this trek, including his upcoming 60th birthday. He was also inspired by author Wayne Curtis’s “The Last Great Walk,” a book about a 70-year-old man’s walk across the United States in the early 1900s.

“Another factor was that I had just been diagnosed with this heart condition (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy),” Fortuna says. “If I have moderate exercise, that actually improves how I feel and how my heart works.”       

Many people might not consider a nearly 190-mile hike “moderate” exercise, but Fortuna says he tried to limit himself to about 16 miles per day. He expects to complete his walk on Wednesday when he steps into Lake St. Clair before heading home.

Fortuna says this adventure will probably lead to other walks.

“My wife is already talking about an inn-to-inn thing where they take your stuff,” he says. “Doing it without a pack would be nice.”

To see photos of where Fortuna has walked, click on this interactive map:

The photos and caption information are courtesy of Clem and Betsy Fortuna.

To hear the full conversation with Fortuna, click on the audio link above.