"The source of Old Man River" Lake Itasca by etfromnc

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Also the source of some of my most fantastic memories and most ambitious dreams. When I lived in North Dakota, my girlfriend and I went with her parents and children to spend a week at Lake Itasca. Her children, who were about five and eight at the time, and I did a lot of canoeing that week and I came up with the grandiose dream of canoeing the entire length of the Mississippi. We canoed many miles that week and made it to three different springs, each of which was attributed to be the source of the Mississippi but we never made it past the first set of rapids (and "rapids" is a gross exaggeration). Their mother and I were quite serious about each other so I figured that as they grew, we could make more serious chunks of that dream. It was not to be. The Air Force transferred me to Texas later that year and as the saying goes, "Out of sight, out of mind." The next time I made it back to Lake Itasca was over twenty years later and I was with another lady whom I hoped to marry. We were only there one day as I was sharing with her some of the most memorable sites of my years in the Northern Plains but Lake Itasca was still as beautiful, the canoeing dream (which really never left me) came back stronger than ever but we didn't even get our knees wet, and we didn't marry either.

Let's get wet

Anyone who might share all or part of that dream with me should be aware that the state of Minnesota wants to help. There is an official scenic byway of about 750 miles which follows the Mississippi River from its source(s) at Lake Itasca through the forests and other lakes of northern Minnesota through the plains and agricultural areas toward and through the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul on through the cliffs and varied river towns of southern Minnesota to the Iowa border.
Care to join me for a canoe trip?

A Small Leap for Mankind

I never thought about it until I noticed the comment in an issue of the Minneapolis-St Paul Magazine this spring but this is probably the only place that you can walk across the bottom of the Mississippi without getting your knees wet. Some can even jump across, but I must admit that I do not remember whether I did or not. I suppose that I will just have to go back again.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful and unbelievably relaxing, even with small children
  • Cons:I had to leave
  • Last visit to Lake Itasca: May 2000
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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