June 5, 2013 – M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I

So we are all led to believe that the Mississippi River begins at Lake Itasca.

Real Source of Mississippi RIVer

How about this stream flowing INTO Lake Itasca? Shouldn’t somewhere up stream from here be the beginning? Or perhaps one of the other four streams that flow into the lake, perhaps the longest one? No, someone has determined that this one is not large enough to be considered a source.  It has a bridge! Doesn’t that give it some geomorphological cred?

mississippi source

Here is the real start.  The water was too high to step across in shoes.  I wonder how many people have stepped over these stones the last 100 years?

You’ll notice an absence of others throughout most of these pictures.  The week was mostly devoid of traffic and people.  Some of the campsites were nearly empty, so throughout the week, we were able to marvel at the sites relatively undisturbed.

Those in the First Nations who lived here were very puzzled why the white man was so obsessed about finding the exact source of the river.  They viewed every part of the river as special, not just the beginning.

Itasca Bike Trail

One of the non-hiking/driving adventures was a 17-mile bike loop through the park.  It went through deciduous forest, pine forests, swamps, and along lakes.  There was a place to rent bikes in the park, which was a great convenience.

biggest white pine

Just off the trail was this tree that I just quite couldn’t get to fit – it’s Minnesota’s largest White Pine.  The largest Red Pine was also near, but had recently lost part of its top, so lost its crown.  Martin noticed that this one is starting to get hollow and leaning, so it probably won’t be there when he brings his kids hear.

Finishing off the bike trail near the end of the loop.