Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Walking in Wheaton

After doing the morning walk in Breckenridge, reported in a previous blog. I drove south for about 30 minutes and arrived in Wheaton.

I crossed the Rabbit River on my way. Yes, it's named after rabbits, the type of rabbit that is white in the winter and brown in the summer. Recently I read that scientists are studying this rabbit to see if it can evolve quickly enough to avoid extinction. The later arrival of winter means the rabbit is now often white and stands out to predators during the autumn season and again when spring arrives early.

Wheaton is the county seat of Traverse County. My Minnesota Geographic Names books tells me Wheaton is named after Daniel Thompson Wheaton, a surveyor for the Fargo Southern Railway. He suggested the name Swedenburg to honor the immigrants from Sweden who settled this town, but the railroad chose Wheaton.

Traverse is named from Lake Traverse. This is a translation from the name given it by American Indians in this area, when they noticed this lake lay traverse to nearby Big Stone Lake and Lac qui Parle.

Wheaton is a very small town, with a population of about 1425. It is a big destination for sportsman who wish to hunt and fish. I had little difficulty finding the start point, a gas station. In the afternoon this is the only place in town where one can get refreshments and residents were gathered there. A group of women were having coffee and chatting at a back table. Near me was a group of men, one wearing a Stetson, so I knew I was getting close to ranch country. They were playing some kind of gambling game -- hope I don't get this establishment into trouble -- that involved shaking dice and then exchanging small coins -- pennies, nickles, and dimes, depending on what the dice said.

I was soon on my way walking through a residential area.

I found a weather station that made me laugh.

Perhaps the writing is too small in the picture. It says:

When Rock Is

WET -- it's raining
WHITE -- it's snowing
MOVING -- it's windy
WHIRLING -- it's a tornado

I continued down the main street of this town and found a store window displaying objects from the historical museum. This is labeled, "Was it the good old days?"

A couple of blocks later I found the museum in what had formerly been the depot.

This, too, had a closed sign. Outside I found an old fire truck.

And something that I realized had disappeared too, a caboose.

This walk was laid out in a series of rectangular shapes. I walked to the southern edge of town and then followed the directions to the eastern edge of the town.

In the middle of the town I got a good view of the grain elevator. I walked beside many, many trucks apparently getting lined up for the harvest season.

On the way back to the start/finish site I walked through some residential areas again and came upon this red house. I would never think of painting a house red, but with the early fall colors on the nearby trees it looked really nice.

Soon I was on my way north again. I stopped in Breckenridge at the Dairy Queen for a peanut buster parfait. I hadn't had one of these ice cream treats in years.

Then it was up the road and turning right back to Fergus Falls again. When I got back to the hotel I was more than ready to kick off my walking shoes and put up my feet for a bit.

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