Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Itasca State Park

The second half of our little adventure up north was to have a night out camping.  There are many State Parks to choose from, but I decided being up in the vicinity, I simply had to go visit Itasca State Park.  It is unique among the many lakes as being the agreed headwaters of the Mississippi River.  Many other sources feed into the River on it's long trek to the Gulf of Mexico, but Itasca Lake is the place where it all begins.
The river begins as a spillover at the northern tip of the lake.  It is the shortest distance from shore to shore at any point in the river, and can be walked over.  Here is Richard doing it.
And here I am, very gawky looking.  The rocks were a bit slippery, and I didn't want to get baptised by the lake.  Hmmm . . . need to get back on the diet!
It's a very beautiful area!  Minnesota, being the state with 10,000 lakes, mostly has them grouped further up in the North.  It's still early enough, and cool enough at night, that the mosquitoes were not much of a nuisance yet.  We went to sleep in the evening, and woke up in the morning to the serenading of a Wood Thrush. We were also most fortunate to have camped at a lake with a resident pair of Common Loons.  Their haunting song is the sound of the Minnesota wilderness.  A Barred Owl hooted a time or two as well in the evening, but only in passing.
I learned a valuable lesson which I'll share.  Those little metal "bear proof" food vaults that are available at some parks, and were at this one, may be proof against bears, but were not, in our case, proof against racoons.  We woke up to half our groceries pulled through a small opening at the bottom and under the vault, where the two doors come together, where some clever racoon hands could twist into and extract some midnight goodies.  All my granola bars were eaten, as well as half a loaf of lemon bread picked up at a bakery in Rochester . . . the half they were able to pull through the small opening.  The other half, having been all touched by racoon hands, got tossed into the woods for the next night.  The sardine cans were all dragged out, but their cleverness did not extend to knowing how to open them . . . I'm sure they would have liked the sardines if they had only known.  So, lesson for all . . . push your bags way back to the back of the vault.  Maybe then your breakfast will be there when you get up in the morning.

This was a first camping trip of the season.  I enjoy camping with Richard, and road trips.  We have a Minnesota State Park pass, so should visit some more of the many parks to be experienced.

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