Thursday, April 16, 2015

Walking Minnehaha Creek

On Tuesday I did the Minnehaha Creek walk -- and it turned into somewhat an endurance event because I didn't prepare correctly. I wanted to do this walk before setting off to do walks in other states, needing to test out how my right leg muscles that have been giving a problem would handle a walk.

Minnehaha Creek flows out of Lake Minnetonka, which is located in western Hennepin County. Its length is 22 miles (35K). It goes over a waterfall near its end and then the water flows into the Mississippi River. Perhaps it is one of the smallest tributaries for the Mississippi River.

The start of this walk is in a Caribou Coffee Shop. I ordered a coffee and and piece of cinnamon bread and then sat down to study the materials in the walk box. I've mentioned the walk box in other descriptions of walks and so this time I took a picture so you all who read this might have an idea of what I'm talking about when I write that.

Inside one finds a registration sheet, start card -- which one sends eventually to the person coordinating this walk along with the fee for the walk which is usually only $3.00, and a map for the walk. It also has the official stamp for the walk that one uses to mark the walk books. I was somewhat prepared for 10K and wasn't exactly happy when the map said 11K. By the map I thought I would be going about halfway and then into an area of shops and restaurants -- oh what a mistake.

Soon I was off walking on a pedestrian trail along the creek. I started out with a jacket on because there was a stiff cold wind, but took it off and stored it in my backpack when I found a picnic table. The temperature was about 60 (15C).

The creek is very low because this area of Minnesota is experiencing moderate drought. The winter snow fall was lower than usual and we've not had a lot of April showers either.

It is easy to see from this picture that this is early spring, but

the trees are budding and soon there will leaves.

There were others out walking. In the early afternoon it was often women pushing a stroller with a small child. Later in the day it turned to runners probably done with their work day. Most of the time the path is separated from the bike trails. I found a sign along the trail that explained that bikers have been using trails along the creek since the late 19th century. It is good to have this separation because the bikers go quite fast, and often when the trail must be shared for bit, the bikers don't give much warning they are behind you.

This walk was fairly quiet, not much traffic along the nearby streets. However, at intervals there was noise for it is under the flight path for the MSP airport.

About 25 minutes into the walk I found this "sculpture." That was all the route map said -- it gave no clues.

Here is what I found.

I sat here for a few minutes for a rest.

Then I continued on towards the highlight of the walk, the Washburn Park Water Tower.

I turned and started up hill which surprised me a bit.

Then I thought, "well of course, a water tower is usually built on a high point."

Along this part of the route I was walking on sidewalks by residences. Here I could see the garden areas with these tiny blue flowers peeking out.

At one point I got this blue vista from across the street.
At last the water tower came into view.

This was the first check point for this walk so I carefully read the signs to gather the necessary information. This present water tower is the 2nd on this site, this one being built in 1932. It was placed on the Historic Register in 1983, according to the sign, for two reasons

At intervals around the base there are the sculptures such as shown above. These are called the Guardians of Health.

At the base of the dome are eagles.

The picture below shows how high the climb is to this tower base.

The route takes one down steps to that street and then in about another 10 minutes or so one comes to the 2nd checkpoint.

This marker commemorates the worst airplane crash within the city limits of Minneapolis. This occurred in March, 1950. The plane was attempting to land at MSP and the plane clipped a wing on a flagpole at Ft. Snelling National Cemetary. The pilot was attempting to turn around and still land the plane, but the wing fell off over the water tower and the plane crashed into a house. All on the plane were killed as were two children sleeping in their beds in the house into which the plane crashed.

From here the route was a return to the the start point. I was really regretting the mistake of not bringing water with me -- a mistake I'll never make again. It took some will power to make the returned walk.

My gimpy leg held up OK. When I got to the Caribou again I drank and drank water and then got a mango-orange smoothie. Drove home and jumped into bed and did a group of leg exercises hoping those would eliminate discomfort the next day. That seems to work. But boy, I'll never again assume I understand how the route works -- I'll always take snacks and water with me.

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