Travel / USA

A Walk Across the Mississippi River

Lake Itasca

A love of travel and hours staring longingly at the globe, have instilled in me an appreciation for geographic milestones. Like most travelers to Kenya, I’ve straddled the equator. When living in England, Greenwich and the Prime Meridian enabled me to plant a foot in both the Eastern and Western Hemisphere.

J Standing on Prime Meridian

I’ve traveled around the world twice, lived at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile, and been on most of the continents.

And over these years of wandering, I’ve developed a weakness for any sign that says, “tallest, biggest, most ___________ (fill in the blank). It’s akin to John Travolta in the movie Michael, where a big part of the plot is a “Roadside Americana” cross-country trip designed to pass by the biggest ball of twine, etc.

J by Sign

Given my predilections, it came as no surprise to Terri when I requested a detour to the source of the Mississippi River, on Lake Itasca, in the boonies of north central Minnesota.


Because when I read that I could walk across the Mississippi River, there was no question that I had to go.

Walk Across Mississippi FI

The Mississippi River inspires superlatives. It’s 2500 miles long, the 3rd largest drainage basin in the world, and 2 miles wide at its widest navigable point. It was the first US interstate highway, it flowed backwards during the New Madrid earthquake, and had cut-throat pirates (more on this later).

Sunset on the Mississippi

And as I gaze out upon what can only be called “The Mighty Mississippi” from the levee at Jackson Square in New Orleans, I think, “I walked across this river when it was a trickle”. Amazing!

Happy Trails,

18 thoughts on “A Walk Across the Mississippi River

    • Thanks for the comment Allison. It really is a pretty cool place. As you drive toward the lake, the river meanders back and forth through small culverts under the road. Every river must start somewhere, but somehow, I had never thought of a river like the Mississippi being a small stream. One tip: if you visit, wait until the weather warms up a tad. I doubt if any water is trickling in Minnesota at this time of year. LOL

    • Thanks for the comment, and for dropping by the blog. Yes this was a peaceful place. This part of Minnesota has thousands, yes thousands, of lakes scattered around. The come in all sizes and most are really beautiful.

  1. We were there just last August, and it is beautiful. I have a picture of my wife walking across that very spot. Seeing your pictures brought back memories.

    • Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Yes, this is a beautiful spot, but as you can tell from my photo, walking across was no easy feat on the day of our visit. There were a couple of school field trip buses and the kids were going crazy. Of course, Minnesotans tolerate some harsh winters, so I can’t begrudge them a little summer fun.

  2. My parents carried me across when I was a baby, but unfortunately I haven’t been back to Lake Itasca since. I do, however, occasionally walk across the Mississippi at St. Louis … but I use a bridge. 🙂

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