Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Itasca State Park: The Headwaters

There's nothing more Minnesotan than walking across the Mighty Mississippi, am I right?;  (except perhaps purifying yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka, but that's another thing entirely), so we simply HAD to do it while we were at Itasca.

Joe and I went to the Headwaters around noon on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.  We should have known that it would be crowded...and it was.

Look at all the people.  Okay, Disneyland it ain't, but it's also not the reflective experience we were hoping for.

Lots of people, lots of shouting and running kids, lots of dogs.  We hung out for a bit and then decided that we would do the unthinkable: wake up before dawn the next day and get there for sunrise.  We were hoping that there wouldn't be anyone else around and that we could get some good pictures in the early morning light.

We took one selfie off the little bridge before leaving.

The next morning - our first wedding anniversary!  We woke up at 6:30 and away we went.  We got to the headwaters and were greeted by a couple and their dogs.  We asked them to take our pictures - they did - and then they headed off.

Happy Headwaters!  We both look a bit sleepy.

After the couple and their dogs left, we had the headwaters to ourselves for about an hour.  Joe took lots of pictures, I waded around in the river, we joked around and had a fine time.  I know it's not for everyone, but in order to find solitude at this park on Labor Day weekend, we had to get up early.  It was great.


The first rapids on the Mississippi

Joe is pretty sure on his feet...
...and Michele is not.  Lots of arm-waving but at least there was no Split Rock-type experience.

All weekend long we had a running joke about "surely THIS is the source of the Mississippi", whenever we came across a tiny streamlet, rainwater puddle draining into a larger puddle, even when I was taking a shower.  Who knows if this rock bridge truly is the source of the Mighty Mississippi?  Well, if it is, we've walked across it and completed our very Minnesotan Quest.

Happy anniversary to us! 
And that's it, folks.  All good things...

We'll embark on many more adventures in the future, but I think we're going to close the book on the Witch of November blog.  Thank you for joining us on the journey!


  1. Some nice pictures there. I especially like "The first rapids". Having that place to yourself has got to be a pretty rare experience. Even at its quietest, I think there have been at least a dozen people in the area with me. My outdoorsy, natury self really likes early mornings, sun rises, and solitude. My under-slept, busy dad self will pass on sun rises.

    As for the headwaters itself, I know that it was altered (water-scaped?) from a marshy swampy outlet from the lake to what it is now, and though it isn't as natural as it was I think it was the right thing to do. Imagine trying to walk across the head-swamp-waters of the Mississippi. Not so appealing. I'm sure the experience of walking across that little stream of a river is a pretty significant part of what draws people to Itasca. So though I would generally rather see things left natural, I think altering the river in this way was a good move. I will always enjoy visiting the headwaters and wading across the water.

  2. What a neat way to start your first anniversary. Has it been a year already? Mazel-tov to you crazy kids!