Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Walking in Springfield MN

I didn't do much on Sunday other than go to church. That didn't require too much walking. I decided if the weather was decent on Monday to try another walk. The Monday forecast was for fog in the morning with sunshine arriving in the afternoon. Well, that didn't exactly happen, but I did do the walk.

I did this walk primarily to be able to mark off Brown County in my Minnesota county book. Looking in my Minnesota geographic name book, I find Brown County is named for Joseph Renshaw Brown, called a prominent pioneer in this area. The story is that Brown ran away from an apprenticeship in Pennsylvania and arrived in Minnesota at Fort Snelling-- at the age of 14 years! What an adventure for a boy of this age. He developed the ability to speak Dakota fluently, became a journalist, and the list continues through attributes such as lumberman, legislator, and newspaper editor.

Springfield started out being called Burns, but at the time of its incorporation the name was changed to Springfield. Two stories are attached to this. One is that it was named after Springfield, Massachusetts, the other that it was named for a water spring. A great feature of this walk are trails along the Big Cottonwood River. Logically enough the river carries this name because of having cottonwood trees along its banks.

The walk started at a Microtel Motel. The attendant at the desk didn't know anything about a "walk box," so she suggested I wait a couple of minutes for Ben. When Ben appeared he knew exactly where it was under a desk and escorted me to the breakfast room in the motel so that I could do my paperwork for the walk. When I returned the box to the desk, Ben said, "Now don't get lost!"

The walk started out through a bit of a residential area that didn't have a great deal of interest. At this point I was trying to decide why this walk for Brown County had been located in Springfield. Soon I got into the business area of this small town, present population around 2150. I saw a sign for a meat market.

I thought this was an old historical sign, but when I got in front of the building, I found ads on the windows indicating it surely was in business.

I surely regretted not having a cooler in the car for I would have enjoyed taking advantage of some of the things offered by this shop.

Across the street was a mural.

I looked down the main street, named Central Street in this town trying to decide if the building in the mural was still in place. Don't think so, but I found a couple of interesting old buildings.


And since Springfield is located in a prominent agricultural area in Minnesota, of course there is a grain elevator.

On my back track to the walk route I also found a time capsule.

Soon I was by the Community Center with its digital sign that provides data about my walk environment.


At the bridge I began to understand why this walk was placed in Springfield.

How beautiful.
With all the rain we've had, the river was flowing rather swiftly to the northeast, on its way to the Minnesota River and then eventually this water will flow by me in the Mississippi. From the distance it looked like a dam in the distance, but that made no sense. When I walked a bit along the river I discovered this was an area of rapids.

video
This view caused to me to think if any boated on this river, it could only be a canoe.

I continued on the circle trail through Riverview Park, just a lovely walk.

When I returned to the bridge area I saw this car and thought I'd figured things out correctly.

The car had a logo for the University of Minnesota, as did the white car in the distance. However, I was not able to find anyone around to ask if people might be conducting a research study or what ever might be happening.

The route map directed me to cross the river and then immediately turn left and walk a trail on the other side of the river.

On one side of the trail is first a prairie and then a corn field.

Sights along the river --

Mushrooms

Wild flowers

A Frisbee link 18 hole course designed for both amateurs and professionals

 and a cute bird house.

I got around to a place on the map where a pond was indicated, but didn't see any pond. I kept walking and then around a grove a trees there it was.



Soon I was at a place where I had to make a decision between 5 K and 10K. Well first it was lunch time and I was hungry and it didn't appear there was much chance to get lunch in Springfield, and secondly, it looked as if I had walked the very best of the route and the rest would simply be for distance. So I headed back towards Central Street.

This business surprised me; I don't think I've ever seen these two functions combined together.

A walk through another residential area brought me to a group of brick homes.


It is somewhat uncommon to see large brick houses like this. I'm guessing these homes were built with brick because Springfield had a brick yard. It was probably more economical to build with local brick than with lumber that had to be shipped from elsewhere.

The horrible weather we've had has delayed all plants and flowers this year. Below is the first peony I've seen. Peonies are high on my favorite flower list and I was glad to see one.

Back to the car quickly after this. I drove over to New Ulm and had a late lunch at Kaiserhof. I was surprised that there were 15 of us in the dining room at 2 in the afternoon. A lovely walk in Springfield. Glad I did this.





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