Arriving at the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel
I purify myself
in the blue water
rushing over the rocks
Itasca State Park
It was only an hour or so ride to the entrance to Itasca State Park and overall a pleasant mornings ride. The wind was still out of the east, but now the southeast and the route after a few miles turned northwards. Highway 71 also was much more cyclist friendly and of course once I entered the park I was in the shade of the many trees. Wetlands, lakes and swamps were visible everywhere on Main Park Drive with their attendant wildlife. Entering the park proper there was bicycle path from the info center to the Mississippi Headwaters. I rode up about halfway, taking my time to check out overlooks and side trails, to where the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel was. I arranged my lodging and dropped off gear and then set out exploring.
The Mississippi Headwaters
The ride up the trail to the headwaters, while not at all flat, was quite straightforward. At the headwaters it appears the main activity people engage in is walking across and in the blossoming Mississippi river. From there I rode on the Wilderness Loop road which rides around the park. Apart from the initial bit where the road has been torn up for re-paving this was fantastic riding: a one way road through relatively unspoiled land packed with trees, swamps and lakes. I checked out a few trails and the various scenic sights as I meandered along. From there it was back to the hostel to take in the amenities of shower, bed and kitchen. I was the only one staying at this hostel on this night.
Swamp on the Wilderness Loop
Sky blue dragonfly
drifts toward dark blue waters —
the summer haze