Thursday, June 12, 2014

Walking in Gaylord

Well, for the first time when I found an error in a blog post and started to correct that, I hit delete instead of edit and it disappeared. So if you are among those who may have read this and then find the same titled entry just a bit different, that is why.

In the last entry I wrote I mentioned taking a bad fall. Two days after that I thought about doing this walk, but that morning I couldn't even bend enough to put on socks, so it didn't seem wise to take off for a 10K walk. By the early afternoon, however, I thought perhaps I'd give it a try. So I headed out for Gaylord, MN,

When I first joined the Minnesota Department of Health my job was to be the department's consultant in the middle part of the southern half of the state, and Gaylord, in Sibley County, was a place I went often. It was my least favorite destination for at that time, one couldn't get lunch or even a cup of coffee in this county seat town.  I was curious to see how the town may have changed.

Gaylord is named for an official of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway. It is one of several towns in Sibley County arranged on an east-west axis, each about 7 miles apart. This was the distance a steam locomotive could travel before it needed either to add fuel or water.

Sibley County is named after Henry Hastings Sibley, who came to Minnesota from Michigan in the early 19th century. His first job was as an agent for the American Fur Company, which at that time was an economic giant. His political career included being a representative to Congress for the territories of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota before they became states, and he served as the first governor of Minnesota after it became a state. His Wikipedia biography notes that his six children were all born in the same house, but each was born during a time of changing boundaries, each was born in a different political unit ranging from Michigan to Iowa to Minnesota.

This walk began from a Casey's gas station and convenience store. Casey's is hosting many walks in the central part of the state. I walked out of the store and proceeded a couple of blocks south and then west and found myself on the western boundary of the town.

On one side are corn fields, growth a bit delayed because of the late spring we had in Minnesota this year.

On the other side I found a nice example of most of the homes in this town, most being built in the mid-20th century.

I continued along this road until it ended at the town's northern boundary and then turned east. There I found this picturesque barn.

Soon the route turned south. There I found this warning sign in a neighborhood.

This warns motorist that a child lives in the neighborhood who has a hearing loss. Motorists are to be especially cautious to watch for a child who may be on the road and unable to hear an approaching car. I don't know if this is a Minnesota thing or if this type of sign is also used in other states and/or other countries.

The walk route was taking me along baseball fields and tennis courts. And then I found one large stadium-type area getting ready for a game that evening.

Earlier in the walk I could see blue and white structures in the distance. These turned out to be part of the aquatic park - a place that was quite busy on this pleasant Sunday afternoon.

The walk route next directed me to take a circle walk through the cemetery. I found the very oldest gravestones to be quite interesting.

This one, for example, is marked in old German cursive. Many of the oldest gravestones represented German families. I didn't know the German influence was so large in this town. In this same area I found a number of gravestones for teens and young adults, who all died in 1919. I am guessing they were victims of the 1918-19 flu pandemic which was particularly virulent for young adults.

I circled back to the swimming area and then around to a gazebo where I found that this city park is now part of the Register of Historic Places.

Next I was directed towards a small bridge that crossing a ravine leading into a lake.

These children playing there probably represent many generations of kids who have enjoyed this spot.

Walking across the bridge gave me a good view of Titloe, sometimes spelled Titlow, Lake. My geographic names book doesn't give me any information about why this lake has this name.

My goal was to find a stone fireplace which served as a check point for this walk.

On the fireplace chimney is a sign noting the Gaylord Cornet Band was created in 1945, the factoid I needed to find for this walk.

I retraced my steps a bit, finding this interesting fungus.

Next I headed by a children's playground and then turned west to begin the final part of the walk back to the start/finish location. I noticed these guns in this distance.

I walked off route to see if I could find an explanation -- no luck. Instead what I found were time capsules. Here's an example.

And then in about five minute walk I found myself back to the start/finish location where I got a good view of the town's water tower.

This walk proved to a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon. And I really scored on my record books. It obviously counted for the event and distance books, but also I could mark the Minnesota County book, the National Register book, the Lakes and Reservoir book, and the Water Tower Book! Not bad for a 6K stroll.

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