Minnesota

The Land of 10,00 Lakes is where we are headed this week. The weather here where I am is more comfortable... even my horse is smiling. So I've got coffee on the campfire or drinks in the cooler. You might even find sandwich makings if you're hungry. Help yourself and pull up a log. I have all my materials ready to figure out what places I want to see in Minnesota. I'll connect to the computer links while you spread out the maps and open the travel guide.

Minnesota is state number 32 of the 50. The state flower is pink and white lady slipper and the state grain is wild rice. I was surprised to learn that the "land of tinted water" is the largest producer of sugar beets, sweet corn, and green peas in the United States. With all the trees found here, it follows that the lumber industry is an important factor in Minnesota. It is the "home" of the legends of Paul Bunyan and his companion, Babe, the blue ox. There are also iron mines. Some of the oldest known rocks on earth are to be found here. Gneisses approximately 3.6 billion years old are about 80% as old as the planet.

The mighty Mississippi River begins as a small stream at its headwaters at Lake Itasca. It winds through Minnesota and on down until it eventually reaches the Gulf of Mexico. The headwaters lakes are part of the more than 11,000 lakes in Minnesota. Lakes and rivers of course mean water sports. As a matter of fact, it is here that in 1922 a creative teenager invented water skiing. The Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge between Park Rapids and Detroit Lakes is the place to spot a bit of wildlife. There are dozens of waterfowl species, black bear, bald eagles, coyotes, and whitetail deer.

Farms dot the state. That means produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables in season. And where people grow things, you will find flowers. The Munsinger and Clemens Gardens feature a wide variety of colorful flower beds from spring to fall. A large fountain and a grove of pine trees are also part of the gardens.

In the winter, Minnesota offers all of the usual cold-type sports. Then in warmer weather many of the ski trails become hiking and biking trails. And there are more than 700 miles of paved biking trails. The state is a perfect place for a bicycle trip. The scenery changes and rolling terrain make for a pleasant trip.

Walking and hiking is a common method of travel in Minnesota. That is probably one of the reasons it is consistently rated as the healthiest state.The Hole-In-The-Mountain Prairie sounds interesting. Prairie grasses, wildflowers, and birds love this kind of setting. This is also the place to spot butterflies.

There is a lot to see in Minnesota. Check it out and let me know what you like best. There are links below to help you with deciding what you want to see. After I visit the World's Largest Ball of Twine, Babe the Blue Ox, and the Jolly Green Giant, I'm going to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. I like caves.

Copas

Minnesota Travel Guide
Minnesota Official State Site
Department of Natural Resources
National Parks
Offbeat Tourist Attractions

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