Thursday, September 26, 2013

Walking Along the Mississippi in Coon Rapids

Yesterday brought lovely weather and with nothing I had to do -- it was time to try another walk. I searched the AVA website for a walk I've never done and one that may be disappearing next year. I picked the one that gave information about walking along the Mississippi in Coon Rapids.

Off I went with Google Maps which stopped working! The drive to this start place takes me on highways I don't like to drive. Right now the route is filled with road construction. One has to avoid making the mistake of taking County Road 10 when you really want U.S. Highway 10. And not getting on 694 East when you really want 694 West even though it seems more logical that the lane for East should be on the right and the lane for West should be on the left, and all the roads seem to go in circles and not in straight lines. I pulled off on the Lexington Exit of 694 West to get the Google Maps working again, and then when trying to resume my journey discovered that the ramp to 694 Wast on Lexington is closed. At least Google Maps clicked in and found me another way to continue my route west and I finally got to a little grocery store on Hanson Boulevard.

I was only #11 for this walk. Maybe there are others who have been put off by the drive to this part of the Metro area.

Coon Rapids has always been there. I've never thought about it much. A little Internet research surprised me.With a population of about 65,000,it is the sixth largest Twin Cities suburb and actually the ninth largest city in Minnesota. This suburb got its start as a housing area for construction workers who created the Coon Rapids dam on the Mississippi in the early 20th century. The name comes from the Coon Creek Rapids that appeared in the river where this creek entered the Mississippi. The dam construction took away this feature. It was constructed for generation of electrical power. Now this area is primarily a recreational site. Usually one can walk across the dam, but right now this trail is closed for reconstruction.

And perhaps some readers may wonder what Coon means, for it can be perceived as a word that should not be used in some cultures and some parts of the United States. In this case, it's short for raccoon. This apparently, a common way to reference a raccoon, is only used in the Upper Midwest. I remember that one of my grandfather's summer hobby/work was keeping the "coons out of the sweet corn." The raccoons loved it!
The walk went along a pleasant residential area on flat sidewalks -- perfect weather, temperature about 70 degrees (21C). In about a mile the route turned left onto a trail along the river. This is a delightful walk with lovely views of the river.

I walked to where a construction fence blocked the trail and then backtracked my way back to the spot where I entered the the park. The route then went along Uplander Street to Riverview Park. This park proved to be a collection of athletic fields. As I walked the bike trail around the park, I was thankful I had left this walk for a pleasant September day. This walk would not have been fun during the hot weather we had this summer.

This walk through the residential areas was enhanced by the fun someone or somebodies had with fire hydrants.

If readers are puzzled by the stake coming up from each -- that's to allow the fire hydrant to be found in case it becomes covered with snow during the winter.

Enjoyed an afternoon along the river.

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