Saturday, September 13, 2008

Itasca State Park and the Headwaters of the Mississippi

This past week Diane and I, in an effort to “hold on to summer”, took a trip to visit our daughter, son-in-law, and grand kids in Saint Paul, Minnesota. There we caravanned north to visit and play in Minnesota’s Itasca State Park. I mention this in our blog as I discovered it to be a fantastic natural playground for those who love to take in history, flora, and fauna. Itasca State Park is located about 160 mile northwest of Minneapolis. It houses the source of the mighty Mississippi river as it begins its 2,552 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. Named by explorer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft in 1832 from the lain words verITAS CAput meaning “true head,” Itasca was established in 1891 to preserve remnant stands of virgin pine and to protect the basin around the Mississippi’s source. The historical significance, lodge, camp ground, multiple lakes, visitor center, and numerous trails make this 32,000 acre park a famous and cultural landmark well worth any outdoor adventure.

While at Itasca we hiked, kayaked, and crossed the Missippii River on foot! It trickles out of the north end of Lake Itasca and is enjoyed by visitors who kick off their shoes and wade through the 12 inch deep water 10 feet to the other side. Looking around a common sight to enjoy are diving Loons and soaring Bald Eagles. We chose a trail to hike called Dr. Robert’s trail along the lake and learned a lot about the indigenous plant life and how native Indians utilized their natural resources. Along the way birding we observed American Redstarts, Brown Creepers, Hairy Woodpeckers, grebes, cormorants, hummingbirds, chickadees, nuthatches, kinglets, finches, and new families of Northern Flickers.

Itasca State Park, a worthy stop for anyone looking for outdoor adventure.

Enjoy these pictures of Common Loons on Lake Itasca taken with a Leica V-Lux camera. Visit us also at http//

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