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The two RV Gypsies at
Itasca State Park and the
Mississippi Headwaters
August 28, 2015 & July 1, 2013
(a combination of photos)

USA map showing location of Minnesota statemap of Minnesota showing where Itaska State Park is locatedItasca state park sign

Itasca State Park is a state park of 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.

Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center
sign about Itasca State Park Centennial
map of Minnesota showing where Itasca State Park is located
globe
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.

2013 Photo

2015 photo

Karen Duquette 2013
Karen Duquette 2015

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
sign about the search for the Mississippi's source
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. 2013 & 2015 photos

Karen Duquette walked across The Mississippi River
Karen Duquette walked across The Mississippi River
Karen Duquette walked across The Mississippi River 2013
Karen Duquette walked across The Mississippi River
Karen Duquette on a bridge over the beginning of the Mississippi River
Karen Duquette on a bridge over the beginning of the Mississippi River 2015

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

Karen walked in the Mississippi River where it starts its flow towards the Gulf of Mexico (2015)

Karen taking a rock out of her shoe
Karen Duquette in the Mississippi River

Below: Karen took photos as she walked in the Mississippi River.

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
Mississippi River
Mississippi River

Lee walked the trail from the headwaters to the first walk bridge that crosses the Mississippi River. He did not want to go in the water. He photographed Karen from the bridge. (2015)

Lee Duquette on the first bridge that crosses the Mississippi River
Karen Duquette in the Mississippi River
first bridge that crosses the Mississippi River
Karen Dquuette under the bridge

Eventually Karen managed to talk Lee into joining her Mississippi River walk.

the two RV Gypsies in the Mississippi River Lee Duquette in the Mississippi River
the two RV Gypsies in the Mississippi River Lee Duquette
the Mississippi River the Mississippi River

The two RV Gypsies walked the Mississippi River all the way back to the headwaters.

Karen Duquette in the Mississippi River the two RV Gypsies in the Mississippi River

Back to where the river begins

The view beyond the lake

Back to where the river begins The view beyond the lake

One last walk under the bridge and then Lee was ready to leave.

last walk under the bridge last walk under the bridge

Below: Map showing the route of the Mississippi River

flow of the Mississippi River

Leaving Itasca State Park, the two RV Gypsies drove their car on several bridges over the Mississippi River, so Karen took one last photo to show how narrow and small the mighty Mississippi River is in this area.

a very narrow Mississippi River

Note: the Aiton Heights Fire Tower is also in Itasca State Park. Karen climbed that tower in 2013. If you are interested in the Aiton Heights Fire Tower, click here, BUT be sure to return to this page via the proper link at the bottom of that page.

Note: There is also an amazing winding journey of the Lower Mississippi River reproduced in a 1/2 mile concrete sculpture in TN.

look below