Saturday, October 13, 2012

Walking -- Olivia and Redwood Falls

Yesterday I left around 8 AM for Olivia, MN. It is about 90 miles west of the Twin Cities, a bit further if one gets tangled with road construction along I-494 before even getting out of the Twin Cities!!

On the way I drove by a pumpkin field. I don't think I've ever before had such a view.

The official Olivia city web site proclaims its location, Renville County, as the richest agricultural county in Minnesota and also says it is one of the leading agricultural innovator counties. Olivia is named after the first railroad station agent, a woman named Olive.

My goal for going here was two-fold. First, it was a lovely autumn day and a walk would be good. Also I wanted to take photos to illustrate how to do a walking survey to learn about a community, pictures to illustrate a lecture I will do next week. Thus, most of the pictures I took aren't all that interesting.

Here's the courthouse, though, a building of note.

This structure, built in 1902, has been in the National Historic Register since 1986.

In the 20th century many Americans would have driven through this town, for the highway going through Olivia was part of the Yellowstone Trail, a tourist destination route that ran from "Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound." Olivia is also know as the Corn Capital of the World, but I didn't take a picture of the monument for it was not located along the walking route.

I did stop at the Masters Coffee Shop and Bakery and enjoyed a very good cup of coffee and a scone.

The route map did include a warning of street construction and that was surely true. It caused me to detour both to get to the start point for the walk as well for some of the walking route. Construction workers were busy putting down new street surfaces and wet tar is a good thing to avoid!

After completing the 5K route in Olivia I drove about 20 miles to Redwood Falls. I'm uncertain if I've ever been in this town before. Redwood Falls is the county seat of Redwood County. It is named for the Redwood River that flows through what is now a small town. The name comes from the red bark on a willow tree that grows along this river. The Dakota Indians scraped this bark off twigs and combined it with tobacco.

This town was originally within a 75 mile stretch of land left to the Dakota after the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. My walk map says the following: "With the corruption of the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs -- for my readers in other countries) which led to the maltreatment and suffering of the Dakota, the Dakota War of 1862 began as a result of that war, the reservation was abolished." 

My walk route started at convenience store and then went through a residential area. Soon I can to a point along the Redwood River.

I crossed the bridge and found myself in a city park. The walk route followed the present version of what had been a military road connecting the Upper and Lower Sioux Indian reservations.

Soon I found myself crossing back over the bridge and walking to a trail that provides a good view of the waterfall on the Redwood River.

When one is crossing the bridge it is easy to note the warning barriers on the upstream side of the bridge. Look for the orange balls floating in the river in the photo below.

This is what is one the downstream side of the bridge.

After walking through the set of trails for this waterfall, I followed the map to another waterfall. This trail was really up and down. The route also included walking over a "swag bridge."

This bridge bounced and groaned as I walked across a deep ravine.

When I arrived to the end of the trail, I found this.

Certainly both this waterfall, Ramsay Falls, and the Redwood River Waterfall would be more impressive under normal weather conditions. This area of Minnesota is in extreme drought and there simply isn't much water. I noticed a lot of nearly dry ponds during my drive and all the rivers are very, very low.

I tracked back on a trail the route map called "a steep uphill but a short jaunt" and then walked back to the start point.

I drove a bit north on Highway71 and stopped at the Pizza Ranch.

Now at nearly 4 PM, believe me, a bit of pizza tasted very good.

I headed back to the Twin Cities stopping at a shopping mall in the western part of the Twin Cities to pick up a couple of USB drives, needed for work next week. My plan was to enjoy a good night's sleep and then spend a lot of time at home on Saturday getting lectures ready for next week.

Well, good plans often disappeared. My daughter called and asked me if I could pick up my older granddaughter at a party at midnight, keep her overnight, and then get her to her job at 11:00 AM this morning. So it was 12:30 AM before I got to bed and not much work done until right now, about 12 hours later.

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