Saturday, April 4, 2015

Walking in Watertown Minnesota

Yes, walking! In my last post I wrote about the fact that I was having a muscle problem in my right leg. I've done a month of physical therapy about twice a week, plus by the end assigned 6 different exercises to do everyday, some once and some twice a day. On last Thursday I went in and said I was feeling somewhat normal and wanted to stop the physical therapy visits and wanted continued maintenance exercises to continue to strengthen the muscles that proved to be a problem.

The therapist wanted to know how far I could walk without pain. I told her I had been doing grocery shopping and also did a shopping trip through Target -- a Target shopping trip requires a lot of walking.

So I graduated from therapy. I was all ready to take off for a few days to try walks -- but right before that last physical therapy trip I was brushing my teeth and a crown fell off of one tooth. So now I have to work around dental appointments too to repair this problem. One of my friends sent me an e-mail that says, "I guess when we get older everything falls apart." That's how I've been feeling lately.

But today was a nice day with sun and temperature that was OK. So I headed off for Watertown MN just to see how I tolerated a 5K walk before taking off to do walks further away from home.

It took about 45 minutes to drive to Watertown. After turning off from I-394 all the country roads to Watertown were new to me, scenic and pleasant.

Watertown is a small town of about 4,000 persons. The Minnesota Geographic Names book says the town was so named literally because of the amount of water about it -- 5 small lakes plus the South Fork of the Crow River.  It was founded in the middle of the 1850s.
I believe the Crow River is named about Little Crow, an American Indian chief who I learned, much to my amazement, already spoke English when the settlers arrived in this area. Because of his language skills he was a great helper and friend to the early settlers until the American government reneged on the treaty details and the Dakota- US war began.

The South Fork of the Crow River is about 116 miles long. A bit downstream of Watertown it joins the North Fork of the Crow River and then this river flows about another 25 miles before it joins the Mississippi River.

The walk box for this walk is held at a grocery storm in the town. I walked to a service desk thinking this a likely place to find the walk box, but no one was there. I went to register and asked the attendant for the walk box. She replied, "you want a movie?" I tried again to explain what I wanted and she called the store manager. The store manager said, "You are the second person today who has asked for this."

This walk took place primarily along the river. The walk map directed one to walk behind the grocery store and pick up a trail there and walk along the left side of the river and it moved downstream. Notice there is not a speck of green yet showing on the trees or the grassland.

This walk is interesting because all along the trail there are poster displays about the town's history. The town seems to be quite proud of its history. I searched for the web site for Watertown and found its web page has a link to learning about its history. One doesn't  usually find this on a town's official governmental web site.

The photo above comes from one of the displays and shows a building that formerly was across the street. I was amused to learn this building style in the 19th century was called residential vernacular; I've never heard that term before.

Another poster explained that by 1865 there were no men in town between the ages of 18-65 years. All were engaged in fighting on the Union side of the Civil War. This caused a stand still for this town.

This walk took me up one side of the river, across a bridge, along the downstream side on the other side of the river and then a connection with the Luce Line trail.

The Luce Line once upon a time was an electric railroad. When it ceased to operate the road bed was developed into a recreational trail. Walking a portion of this trail was pleasant on an early spring day. Everyone once in awhile I would meet someone else walking a dog or jogging.

Eventually I was back to the parking lot where I left my car.

The business district of this small town looks to have buildings primarily from the late 19th to the very early 20th century.

 The town hall, shown above, appears to have a new facade and an old cupola and is an example of what I saw.

And here's another building:

Glad to get out walking again. Now to see what my leg "thinks" about today's effort tomorrow! 

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