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The two RV Gypsies at
Itasca State Park and the Mississippi Headwaters
July 1, 2013
USA map showing location of Bemidjimap of Minnesota showing where Itaska State Park is locatedItasca state park sign

Itasca State Park is a state park in Minnesota, United States, and contains the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The park spans 32,690 acres of northern Minnesota, and is located about 21 miles north of Park Rapids, Minnesota and 25 miles from Bagley, Minnesota. The park is part of Minnesota's Pine Moraines and Outwash Plains Ecological Subsection and is contained within Clearwater, Hubbard, and Becker counties.

Itasca State Park was established by the Minnesota Legislature on April 20, 1891, making it the first of Minnesota's state parks and second oldest in the United States, behind Niagara Falls State Park. Henry Schoolcraft determined Lake Itasca as the river's source in 1832. It was named as a National Natural Landmark in 1965, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. About 500,000 people visit Itasca State Park annually. This is a fee area.

Mississippi Headwaters Mary Gibbs Center sign
sign about Itasca State Park Centennial
Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters center
map of Minnesota showing where Itasca State Park is located
sign to be read about the Mississippi River
USA map showing the Mississsippi River and its offsprings
sign about the caretaker woman
caretaker of water monument

To the historic Ojibwe Indians, the river was known as "Gichiziibi - The Great River." The name "Mississippi" has its origins from with the Algonquian Indian language family. The Mississippi ("Misizibi") refers to a river spread over a large area.

sign about the search for the Mississippi's source

Lake Itasca, the official source of the Mississippi River and a scenic area of northern Minnesota, has remained relatively unchanged from its natural state. Most of the area has a heavy growth of timber that includes virgin red pine, which is also Minnesota's state tree. Some of the red pine in Itasca are over 200 years old.

Lake Itasca as it enters the Mississippi River
map showing where the two RV Gypsies are standing

Karen Duquette walked across The Mississippi River where it begins its 2,552-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico here. At the outflow from Lake Itasca, millions of visitors have walked across the headwaters, wading in the footsteps of American history.

Karen Duquette walked across The Mississippi River
Karen Duquette walked across The Mississippi River
Karen Duquette walked across The Mississippi River
Karen Duquette relazxing in the Mississippi River Headwaters
Karen Duquette on a bridge over the beginning of the Mississippi River
Karen Duquette on a bridge over the beginning of the Mississippi River

Below: A view of the Mississippi River as it starts its flow towards the Gulf of Mexico.

View of the Mississippi River as it starts its flow towards the Gulf of Mexico
View of the Mississippi River as it starts its flow towards the Gulf of Mexico
View of the Mississippi River as it starts its flow towards the Gulf of Mexico
View of the Mississippi River as it starts its flow towards the Gulf of Mexico

Below: Map showing the route of the Mississippi River

flow of the Mississippi River

NOTE FYI: In 2014, the two RV Gypsies went to Mud Island in Memphis, Tennessee because The River Walk is one of the most unique representations of the Mississippi River in the world - a winding 1,000 mile journey of the Lower Mississippi reproduced in a one-half mile concrete sculpture. Here is the link for that but be sure to return here to finish the 2013 journey - Lower Mississippi River reproduced in a 1/2 mile concrete sculpture in TN.

The two RV Gypsies also returned to Itasca State Park in 2015 and Karen and Lee walked in the Mississippi River from the Headwaters to the first foot bridge. This event is also posted through the TOC button and the 2015 USA trip.

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Menu for the two RV Gypsies Adventures
in Bemidji, Minnesota
July 1, 2013

You may visit these three (3) sites in any order you choose.
The page you are on is grayed out and cannot be chosen.

Oddities in Bemidji

Aiton Heights Fire Tower

Itasca State Park/Mississippi Headwaters/Mary Gibbs Center

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go to the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesAFTER you have seen all three sections above, please continue on to the adventures of the two RV Gypsies in Saskatchewan, Canada- Castle Butte, Home of the Giant, Moose Mountain, and more