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Sunday, August 21, 2022

Itasca State Park - Day 264

  Today, I walked through a really pretty section of the trail. This state park is where the headwaters of the Mississippi are found. However, the actual trail doesn't pass that place. You need to do it as a side trip.
Itasca State Park sign

I didn't get to enjoy the park very much though since the mosquitoes were even worse than yesterday, if you can believe it. I thought I was going to have to walk all day without eating my lunch, as it was impossible to stop for even a few seconds without being covered. Every inch of my skin was protected, but they were biting through my shirt all the time, and the pants too, if I stopped.

Other than the mosquitoes, the biggest challenge was crossing this beaver dam!
beaver dam

Stacy Davis had said that there are never mosquitoes near Hernando DeSoto Lake. I was sure hoping she was right.
Hernando DeSoto Lake

And today, Stacy gets the win! The campsite was occupied, but the campers must have been taking a side hike because no one was there, so I sat on the log and ate lunch. I even took off the head net! Then I just had 4 miles to go. The skeeters got bad again, so I had to put it back on.
campsite

And just for your edification, here is their cache bag. They might as well have left it on the ground. It might be 8 feet from the ground, but it is too close to the tree trunk, too close to the branch it is hanging from, and easy access from the branch just below it. Pretty much any animal that wants to help themselves can do so without even having to work for it. .
bad cache bag hang


And before I got to Itasca, Gardner Lake was pretty.
Gardner Lake

This was also the day I passed from the previous hike of western Minnesota in 2004 to the hike of central Minnesota in 1997. Western Minnesota is almost all different now, with huge pieces of trail moved off road. And most of the Itasca piece of the 1997 hike we bushwacked. Seriously bushwhacked, with pacing and a compass because at that time, the trail simply disappeared into Hernando DeSoto Lake! (Read "Tales from Paul's Woods" in North Country Cache.)

Tomorrow I give a program at the Detroit Lakes library. 7 pm- if you are in the area. I'll be taking the day off because it's a bit of a drive back there, and I also have to solve a real world problem via phone during business hours.

Miles today: 16.8. Total miles so far: 3106.6.

See Clear Trail

3 comments:

Peter Nordgren said...

A hydrological case can be made that Hernando De Soto Lake is the ultimate Mississippi source. You saw it!

Ann said...

Glad you were able to find a spot free of mosquitos so you could eat your lunch.

Sharkbytes said...

Hi Peter- I have been to Itasca before, just not this day. DeSoto sure is pretty.

Ann- me too, I was getting hungry!

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