Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lake Itasca

Lake Itasca, where the mighty MIssissippi takes it's first trickling steps on it's two and a half thousand mile journey south, has surrounding it some stunning Jack Pine forest and wildlife and, thanks to the State Park and Department of Natural Resources,some fine family camping and outdoor facilities a the ready - pontoons and bicycles are ready for renting and the trails are breathtaking.

The headwaters of the Mississippi, flowing from Lake Itasca, are a great attraction, partly because it's one part of that great river that can be crossed on a few stepping stones before it gradually reaches it's massive girth many miles south.

The lake was given it's name by Henry Schoolcraft, who took the latin words "verITAS" (meaning "true")and "CAput" (meaning "head") to form Itasca - there had been many previous claims of the headwaters' discovery from many sources, including the Spaniards in the 16th century and many others, but the true head was found when Mr Schoolcraft employed an Ojibwe native as his guide - of course the Ojibwe knew where it was all along, but no one bothered to ask. Henry, however, had been a long time friend of the native peoples:

Also found in abundance along Elk Lake are Minnesota's State Flower ; Lady Slippers:

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