- Young One catching fish after fish after fish. Funny how when you're a parent, you suddenly want more than anything for your kid to catch a fish--it's no longer you that needs to catch! Now, technically, most of them would be considered bait by seasoned fishermen, but for him, it was so much fun. He changed lures almost every cast until he found one that lured them by the school up to the boat. Then it was "Catch City, mom!" We didn't keep any, they were all too small, and decided that with the looming rain clouds, we'd better finish our exploration of the lake before we got drenched.
- Eagles, Eagles, Eagles. It's so thrilling to me to see so many of them in my home state again. DDT really did a number on our Eagle populations , but they've come back and for Young One it's just not that big of a deal to see them anymore. Isn't that great? We saw three of them, majestically sitting in dead trees along the shore.
- Seeing the Mississippi Headwaters from the lake side. You get a totally different perspective on the beginning of the Mighty Mississip from the lake. And it's completely hysterical to watch people navigate the crossing over those slippery rocks.
- Loons, Loons, Loons. I love our state bird. They're this funky looking black and white checkerboard patterned water bird that dives and swims great lengths underwater. When they come near your boat, it usually means you won't catch many fish because the fish all hide. They don't want to become anyone's dinner at that point! I just love watching them and we saw dozens (and enjoyed hearing their cries from our campsite).
- Young One drove the boat. You should have seen him trying to be too cool to smile, but the smile was bursting through anyway. Oh, to have captured that moment on film. It's not a face I'm going to forget in a while.
- Just sitting in the boat, enjoying the rocking of the waves, watching ducks and fish and water lillies, and looking for bear and deer. It was so peaceful, even though we weren't the only ones on the lake, it was so uncrowded, we felt like we were.
- The smell of the pines. This will forever be my memory of Itasca.
- Getting back to the dock just in time for a little rain to start.
This park draws people from all over the world. I don't know what it is about the headwaters of this river that gets people interested. Maybe that it comes from such humble beginnings. Maybe that you can walk across it. Maybe because of the history. From ancient, primative tribes, to the Native Americans, to the explorers, the pioneers, the CCC workers, and the first visitors. It's really a slice of history and Americana that many come to see.
We spent the rest of the afternoon dodging raindrops and hitting some gift shops. We had dry weather in time for the evening campfire steak fry. After dinner, Young One and I hit a secret fishing spot just down from the campground at a hidden boat landing. We found Yellow Ladyslippers (wish the picture would have been better!), which were a treat to see and got to watch a turtle lay her eggs and bury them in the sand. No fish were caught, but view was great and there were lots of minnows to watch.
It rained off and on for the rest of the night, but we were safe and snug in our canvas cottage. Young One fell asleep early, so D and I read the evening away. Very relaxing!