Because of the floods our trip to Itasca became one day instead of two and we had to drive south from Willow River to get around the closed roads and bridges to find a route we could use to go west.  This took us around Lake Mille Lacs, over to Brainerd, then up to Walker and on to Itasca.

There I received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minnesota Association of Environmental Education (MAEE). This was an amazing honor and wonderful recognition from my peers.

The event was held at the Mary Gibbs Center in Itasca State Park - the headwaters of the Mississippi River and an important part of our 2013 expedition.

Lake Itasca is shaped like a slingshot and the river drains out of the north end over a series of slippery stepping stones.  It is hard to envision the small stream that exits the lake to be the same river as the industrial waterway we saw near New Orleans.

The Mississippi starts in the true north - land of red and white pines and Minnesota's state flower - the showy ladyslipper.

We enjoyed a beautiful day and ended with excellent smoked ribs in Pequot Lakes at Timberjack's Smokehouse.  They do their own smoking and the result is delicious.


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