Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lake Bemidji State Park, Minnesota

We’re at the most secluded campsite we’ve had on this leg of our trip, and actually in quite a while. The place:  Lake Bemidji State Park in Bemidji, Minnesota.

We drove 225 miles to get here from from Ashland, Wisconsin, and arrived about 3 p.m. today. We hadn't made reservations, but I'd talked with the park and knew at the very least we'd be able to stay in a site without electricity.  When we got here, there were 13 electric sites available.  We drove around the park, picked out the one we liked best and it's great. And the electricity (and good Verizon coverage) enabled us to have a Face Time call tonight with our daughter, Ashley, and grand daughter, Mia. I was going to take and post a photo of nearly four-year-old red-headed Mia, but  got so caught up talking with her and her Mom that I forgot to take a picture. 

But back to Bemidji -- On our way here we saw our first major traffic in quite some time in Duluth.  It wasn’t traffic-jam heavy -- just heavier than we’ve seen since July 31, the day we left my Mom’s in Ohio and passed Toledo and then a few cities in southern Michigan. 

Along the way to Bemidji we saw a fireworks store called “Three-Fingered Fireworks.”  Made us laugh, but not enough to stop.  We also noticed once we passed Grand Rapids, Minnesota, that the landscape really opened up.  Instead of thick stands of trees (so thick that often all you could see was a tunnel of trees until a Great Lake sprang into view) we started seeing fields of low bushes. But we’re still in tree country. We’re also in loon country.  The loon is the state bird of Minnesota and we heard one tonight.
Our campsite at Lake Bemidji State Park near Bemidji, Minnesota. Bemidji is 160 miles north west of Duluth, 230 miles north of Minneapolis and closer to Canada than to either of those two cities.  It's also near the headwaters of the Mississippi River (we crossed the Mississippi twice and it was about 30 feet wide) and at one end of Minnesota’s Paul Bunyan State Trail, a 112 miles paved path between here and Brainerd 
Cooper and Jim on a pier at Lake Bemidji, one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes. (I read that Minnesota actually has 11,842 lakes larger than 10 acres and not just the 10,000 touted on their license plates)


  1. One must wonder why the Indians (I know another example of my political incorrectness) named their reservation "Fond du Lac", a French phrase . Was it in rebellion of their English-speaking adversaries? Or perhaps, given the governments policy of allocating Indian (see above) Reservations to only the best geographical locations, that, it is simply a very accurate description of the reservation's locale.

    I do admit, that I have never heard the words "Duluth" and "traffic-jam" in the same sentence before. God only knows what Fargo will bring you.

    Finally, with regard to a ten-yard wide Mississippi River: It is only a an issue of poor cartography that the Missouri River is the Missouri River, and not just the northwestern section of the Mississippi River. If it were, then the Mississippi would be the longest river in the world, and what red blooded American would not want that. The little stream that you crossed in Minnesota could then be more accurately named the North Fork of the Mississippi River, or the Minnesota River, or my personal favorite, the Carl river, and who would care if that was just a few feet wide? Just trying to correct some historical errors here.

    As an aside, would have loved to see pictures of Mia with her naturally curly red hair.

  2. You’ve got me scared of Fargo, so I think we’ll pass. About cartographers: A park naturalist told us that Minnesota’s Northwest Angle (which I’d never heard of) was a result of confused cartography. Map makers thought the Mississippi River started in that area. So it was retained as part of the US -- even though it’s surrounded on three sides by Canada.