ST. IGNACE — The annual tradition of walking across the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere took place Monday morning in the eastern U.P.

An estimated 40,000 plus participants took part in the 59th Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk. Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley led the walkers on the five-mile trip from St. Ignace to Mackinaw City just after 7:00 a.m.

The walk across the Mighty Mac usually takes participants about two hours to complete. The walk was a fun experience for a couple of Yoopers who had never done it- until today.

“It was absolutely terrific,” said Chris Lightfoot of Sault Ste. Marie. “The weather was beautiful. They had the Michigan Army National Guard guys on the bridge spread out every so often. Just wanting the people shaking their hands and thank them for their service was a very nice thing to see.”

“It was so awesome. It was just like an endless sea of people ahead of you and behind you,” said Lizzy Wentela of Marquette. “When you’re walking over the grate and you see the lake and the boats- it was just awesome.”

The Labor Day walk is the only day of the year that pedestrians are allowed to walk across the bridge.