Bemidji and Lake Itasca

It was overcast, rainy and chilly this morning encouraging us to don jeans for the first time since sometime in May.   For nearly the entire nearly 200 mile drive we were in-and-out of rain …

ranging from little more than heavy mists to torrential downpours.

Driving through Duluth, through the fog, Debbie was able to get a fuzzy shot of one of the tall ships just off shore entering the harbor for a weekend celebration.

Along the way, we passed … you guessed it … more old barns,

long lines of ore-carrying rail cars,


several towns with one or more buildings sporting murals,


more bait and tackle shops that we could count,



large-scale logging operations,

and trucks carrying logs “crosswise”, something I’d never seen before.


Groups of mostly girl bikers peddling across Minnesota to raise monies for a food bank.


1.       Where are the Headwaters of the Mississippi River?

2.       What director does the Mississippi River flow?

3.       How many feet does the Mississippi River drop from its source to its outflow into the Gulf of Mexico?

4.       What is the length of the Mississippi River

5.       How many states does the Mississippi River border of pass through, in order?

6.       How many days does it take a drop of water to reach the Gulf of Mexico from its source?

 After checking in at our campground, we stuck out for Itasca State Park.  A 15 mile loop road

takes you around Lake Itasca, by the tallest White and Red Pines in the State of Minnesota, past several incredible scenic lakes (there are over 100 in the park),

Kasey Lake

beaver lodges,

stands of Red Pines,

and within a ½ mile walk of the 100’ Aiton Heights Fire Tower.  Situated at an elevation of 1,675’

it provides a commanding view of the Park.

As well as a clear view of those who did not make the climb.

In fairness, she made it all the way into the burial chamber of the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt when yours truly bailed out when the entrance tunnel got very cramped

However, the center piece of the Park’s attraction is Lake Itasca,


which is generally regarded as the source of the Mississippi River.

and slowly away toward the Gulf of Mexico


1.       Lake Itasca.

2.       First North, then East and Finally South.

3.       1,475 feet.

4.       2,552 miles

5.       Ten:  Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky , Tennessee,  Arkansas, Mississippi, and finally Louisiana

6.       90 days

 Some other interesting facts about the Mississippi:

1.       Average temperature:  Headwaters: 40o to 50o – Gulf of Mexico: 70o to 80o

2.       Annual precipitation:  Headwaters: 20” to 40” – Gulf of Mexico:  60” to 70”

3.       Average Flow:  Headwaters: 30 to 60 gallons per second  – Gulf of Mexico:  4.5 to 5.5 gallons  per second

4.       Average width:  Headwaters: 18’ – Gulf of Mexico:  1,000’

5.       Average depth:  Headwaters: 18” – Gulf of Mexico:  100’ to 200’

On our way aback to our campground, and despite being after 7:00 PM (due to the fact we’re much farther north and back home) we detoured into downtown Bemidji, which bills itself as

The first city through which the Mississippi River flows

we quickly found

and followed the

to the 18’ tall statue of Paul Bunyan and his ox, Babe … to memorialize when logging and lumberjacks were synonymous with the city’s most colorful era,

and just a few hundred yards from where the Mississippi River flows into Lake Bemidji …

after which the river finally begins its journey south to the Gulf of Mexico.

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