The Big Thaw


A couple of “wows” and a correction. Wow # 1 – Great response on the First Actual Mystery Photo Friday location. I won’t reveal the actual photo site yet, but will comment that many of you, though misguided and landmark challenged, seem to have zeroed in on a probable location. I’ll tell all and announce the winner if you scroll down past the “new” Mystery photo on this coming Friday’s post. And just so you know up front and all, this next one is going to be much harder with just one photo to ponder. The following week, I’ll include all the “hint” photos that may have helped you locate the location but which I withheld with the intent to perplex and challenge. “What a nice guy”, to quote Madeline Kahn, from the film, Blazing Saddles.

The main ice sheet bounced off the car and came to rest on the driveway

Wow #2 – For any non-Minnesotans out there, I’ll tell you, we had a heck of a thaw this weekend. It finally loosened that worrisome glacier and it shot right off the roof of our house. If you’ve had ice dams on your place, you know what I mean. We are relieved to see that the roof shingles appear unharmed. Now all we have to do is fix our car. All human tissue is intact but the porch furniture and “Silverado” are hurting. To think we’d been in and out of the garage several times that day before the big event. On another note, Lois and I took advantage of the balmy weather to venture out to Pike Island, the subject of last week’s post. It was a lovely stroll on a “winter walking” trail that complemented the ski trails that crisscross the park. Pike Island is part of the much larger Ft. Snelling State Park.

Corey at Park Trail Marker - I was still not sure it had warmed up

Hikers can explore up the Minnesota backwater islands, make use of a beach and boat-landing, hike up the shoreline of the Mississippi River and of course, explore Pike Island (did I leave out the golf course and polo field? – I’m not kidding). You reach it by turning off Post Road just past the International Airport on highway 5 and following the signs. The Thomas C. Savage Visitor’s Center has a fireplace to hang out by and all the exhibits that you’d expect in a well-run outfit Wiki-link and DNR link ). You won’t find much about Mr. Savage on the internet but if you want the story of how one conservation-minded individual can make a difference, his is worth the time ( Thomas Savage and Ft. Snelling State Park ).


Map including Camp site and historic Dakota villages

Marker commemorating Camp Coldwater

Correction – Camp Coldwater, the Prison Camp/Concentration Camp for the Sioux families held captive following the Dakota/U.S war, was located below the bluff where Ft. Snelling perches, but not actually on Pike Island as I reported in last week’s blog – at least that’s how it appears on park maps. Check out last week’s Pike Island post for a historical photo of the Camp. I also reported 300 souls lost over the two years of incarceration but had only one source to reference come post time. The park has two different totals at two different locations in the park –  the 300 I reported, and 130. I’m including this information for the purpose of trying to get reported figures, reported correctly to you. Either total illustrates the unconscionable 10% to 20% loss of life under terrible living conditions. Here’s a slide show of photos we took in the park with Native American content related to the 1862 to 1864 confinement. Images include those in the visitor’s center as well as along the trail.

Tough content. There’s no smooth transition to lighter material. We reflected on the sorrowful side of the site’s human events and marvelled in the beauty that the Spring-like afternoon offered us. I’d be surprised if there was a citizen of this state that wasn’t a bit giddy on Saturday.

We strolled to the “confluence” end of Pike Island and back and were lucky to see a busy beaver who seemed nonplussed by our presence. We left the park, headed across the Mendota Bridge and took the first exit. By following Highway 13 North and the signage, we found the Sibley and Faribault houses just down from Mendota’s main drag. Here’s a slide show Lois put together for you. You’ll see park shots, my “senior” (AARP) pictures I never had taken in high school, the downstream point of Pike at the confluence, a hungry beaver and the Sibley house in Mendota. Music by Poor Benny. Thanks for checking in. Corey

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