Lake Bemidji State Park (Minnesota) 19-Jul-2022

After its birth at Lake Itasca, the Mississippi flows north for a bit, then turns east and enters Lake Bemidji. It exits the east side of that lake, crosses Lake Winnibigoshish, and continues on east to Grand Rapids. There it finally turns south and starts for the Gulf of Mexico in earnest. Its path to Grand Rapids looks like a giant reversed question mark. These changes of direction probably added to the challenge (back in the day) of finding its true source.

From LaSalle Lake, we drove to Lake Bemidji State Park at the north end of Lake Bemidji. By now the clouds had consolidated into a mass that looked like magic sky water was imminent. We had rain gear but it’s always a toss-up whether wearing a rain jacket in warm, humid conditions does much to keep you dry. 🤔 Fortunately, the Hiking Club route here is short (1.7 mi / 2.7 km), so if the skies opened, we wouldn’t get too wet before getting back to the car.

The Hiking Club route took us inland from Lake Bemidji to Big Bog Lake. Part of this hike is on old dirt roads, but a good part is on a boardwalk suspended over the bog. From up there we were able to catch a glimpse of some of the plant species – some still flowering – that are unique to a bog habitat.

At the trailhead
On the trail to the boardwalk
We reach the bog…
And take to the boards…

One of the plant species we loved finding in Oregon was the Darlingtonia or Cobra Lily – a species native only to Oregon and Northern California. Here the corresponding species is Sarracenia or Purple Pitcher Plant. Although the plants themselves look different, both species produce eerie looking flowers and seed pods on tall stalks.

Purple Pitcher Plant seed pods
Tuberous Grass-pink Orchid
On toward Big Bog Lake
Big Bog Lake under leaden skies
Grasses in the pond
Heading back

A light rain started a few minutes after we reached the lake. Nature had waited to sprinkle on us until we were as far from the car as possible. This drizzle continued until we were almost back to the trailhead, then Nature called it quits. Ah, toyed with by Nature yet again. 🙄

This was a short but informative hike. It would have been better had it been sunny and we’d visited earlier when more of the bog-specific plants were flowering. Still, a good finish to our first round of Mississippi-themed hikes. Then it was to the south end of the lake for dinner and another night in Bemidji. 😁


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