IL, MN, and WI National Park Units

June 7, 2018

May 24 Th – did a Story Corp recording session in Chicago titled “Iran 2 – Untold Reason for the Taking of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran on November 4, 1979 and the Hostage Crisis.” On our walk to Pizzeria Uno with Mike, we stopped at the corner of Wacker Dr and Michigan Ave to view the historical information at the Fort Dearborn Chicago Landmark.

Fort Dearborn was built in 1803 on the Chicago River to protect the “Chicago Portage.” It was destroyed during the War of 1812.

This engraving describes how regulars, women and children were massacred (by Potawatomi Indians) while attempting to evacuate the fort

Stayed with Cathie and Jim for two nights


May 25 F – Jim and I visited the Chicago Portage National Historic Site, it is administered by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

Impressive sculpture representing Fr. Marquette and Joliet passing through here on their discovery (1673) of this Native American connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River System

Sign describing this gateway for exploration and pioneer expansion. Many frontiersmen, missionaries, soldiers, and traders passed through this portage.

We walked the trails around the site

Think about it – one could travel by boat from the Atlantic Ocean, down the St Lawrence Seaway, through the Great Lakes to this site, portage (or paddle through a 7.5-mile marsh at high water) to the Mississippi River System, and continue by boat down the river, through the Gulf of Mexico, and back to the Atlantic Ocean! In 1848 the Illinois and Michigan Canal was completed eliminating the need to portage. This is the reason Chicago grew and prospered at this location. The next series of photos describes the history of this location.

Connections Through Time


May 26 Sa – 2hrs to Milwaukee and visit with Chad, Liz, Drago, Seamus, and Lena. They surprised us by preparing a display and dinner for Helen’s Slava. A Slava is a Serbian family Saint’s Day – Helen’s is Saint George.


May 27 Su – Lighting candles for deceased relatives

Breakfast at North Ave Grill


May 28 M – Memorial Day, 5.5hrs to our Airbnb apt in Minneapolis


May 29 TuAmerican College of Sports Medicine Convention, gave a presentation titled ”Exercise is Medicine: Rx Your National Parks”

Also, had a chance to have a brief visit with Stacy

And visit the Walker Art Center and Sculpture Garden


May 30 W – Started the day with a drive to Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, which is part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

Walked across the dam in a light rain and then returned to go through the Visitors Center

Drove River Rd back into Minneapolis to Saint Anthony Falls

Did the short trail around Hennepin Island

Horseshoe Falls

Saint Anthony Falls looking south across the Mississippi River

Took West River Pkwy to Lock and Dam #1, where there was a nice observation deck

Continued to Minnehaha Regional Park where we walked around Minnehaha Falls

Toured the Stevens House and had some excellent clam chowder at the Sea Salt Eatery in the Park

Continued downstream two miles to Fort Snelling State Park

This is where the Minnesota River enter the Mississippi

Fort Snelling was established here in 1820 to protect the fur trade

Enslaved people were held at the fort until after the Civil War, including Dred Scott of the famous “Dred Scott Decision.” Scott was a slave who had been taken to this territory by his owner in 1857. He sued for his freedom. The Supreme Court ruled that “a negro, whose ancestors were imported into [the U.S.], and sold as slaves”, whether enslaved or free, could not be an American citizen and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court; and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. In so doing, it ruled that an Act of Congress was unconstitutional. This is considered by many to be the worst Supreme Court decision in American history! It was one of many events that led to the Civil War. It was functionally superseded by the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1868, which gave African Americans full citizenship.

Another black mark on the U.S. was the U.S. – Dakota War of 1862

Our next stop was the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area Visitor Center in St Paul. It is located in the Science Museum of Minnesota

It was small but very well done – note the map on the floor

Carver’s Cave

Indian Mounds Park


May 31 Th – It took an hour to drive to the St Croix National Scenic River Vis Ctr in St. Croix Falls WI

Put-in point

Pointing to the point on the river where we will put in our canoe below the dam. The take-out was at Osceola Landing after the bridge in the lower right of the photo

We rented our canoe from Eric’s just south of St. Croix Falls and were told that the 6-mile trip would take 3 hours, more if we chose to paddle through the lakes adjacent to the river

We did paddle through Peaslee Lake and Lower Lake – it took us 1.5 hours to complete the trip

We rewarded ourselves with an “old-fashion” Root Beer Floats at the 1950’s Taylors Falls Drive-In Diner. They still have car-hops, though we sat at an “old-fashion” table for oldies! Afterward, we hiked the Pothole Trail in the Wisconsin Interstate State Park just south of St. Croix Falls. This is Wisconsin’s oldest State Park (1900).

The Ice Age National Scenic Reserve is an Affiliated National Park Unit.  It was established along the entire length of the moraines marking the edge of the last glacier in WI and has nine sites. We hiked at the Devil’s Lake State Park site several years ago.

The Pothole Trail

It leads to the Northern Terminus of the 1,200-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail, that links together six of the Ice Age National Scenic Reserve’s nine sites

Toured the Wisconsin Interstate State Park Interpretive Center after our hike. It was then a scenic 3.5hr drive through north central WI to Lucy’s Place B & B in Bayfield WI. There we met my old friend Clark from my first year of graduate school at the U of Maryland and his wife Donna. We went to the Bayfield Inn for dinner.


June 1 F – we were expecting to do a morning cruise through the Apostle Islands, however, there were small craft warnings and the cruise was canceled. So, we started at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Vis Ctr in Bayfield.

There are 8 lighthouses on the various islands to provide for safe boat traffic in the area

Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day

Map – we couldn’t get to the islands, so we decided to do the Lakeshore Trail that starts at Meyers Beach

Starting on the trail

We hiked 5 miles round-trip

Be Careful!

Some Cliff Views

The steep cliff walls of sandstone bedrock can rise over 50 feet above Lake Superior

One of the few caves we could see from the top of the cliffs. I hope to come back here, kayak along the cliffs and into the caves and also get out to some of the islands.

Donna and Clark

Had lunch at Little Nicki’s in Cornucopia and then stopped for a Treasure Search just north of Bayfield

We bought “Wine Bread” and a homemade pie for Vera and Bill, said our good-byes and drove 5.5hrs to Madison WI


June 2 Sa – day with Vera and Bill


June 3 Su – 7.5hrs to Springfield, also lost an hour going from the Central time zone to Eastern time zone

Helen’s cross-stitch project completed during our trip


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