Minnesota is called the Land of 10,000 Lakes; it has more like 11,842. Minneapolis alone has 13 lakes. I grew up there, between Lake Nokomis and Lake Harriet. Minneapolis and St. Paul (the Twin Cities) are the largest and most populated towns. They are near the eastern border with Wisconsin and 175 mi (217K) from the border with Iowa to the south.
Any area with more lakes than people above the Twin Cities, is captured in the phrase, “Up North.” It’s the whole upper half of the state. “Going Up North” is synonymous with spending time in nature; hiking, biking, paddling, swimming, fishing and innertubing. Saying we’re “Going to the lake” and “Going to the North Woods are similar, even though there is so much water and are so many trees statewide! Why so many lakes? The glacier that receded 12,000 years ago left many gifts; bodies of water to enjoy sporty activities.
According to the Minnesota CBS affiliate, as of 2016 there are 135,000 cabins in the “Star of the North” State. That’s one cabin for every 39 people. Many Minnesotans who live “Up North” do away with the cabin and buy a home directly on a lake. When I grew up, we had no cabin, but my uncle who had one near Duluth found my mom a lovely piece of property to purchase in the North Woods on a lake. The 1/3 that isn’t swamp is wonderful.
We were lucky enough to spend the past weekend there. Perfect timing to enjoy our good news. Here are my recent photos of the land I love.
1. Clouds and pine trees reflected on the mirror of the lake.
Many weekends spring to fall all during my childhood, we camped in an enormous canvas tent and cooked out over a fire or a cookstove. Throughout the days, we’d paddle our canoe on the lake with Mom or Dad, looking for beaver lodges or loons. My sister and I would gather firewood, help build a fire, swim, pick wild blueberries, and walk in the woods. We loved the wind in the aspen trees, the sunsets, and the amazingly bright stars at night.
3. Startling red sumac leaves dotting the edges of the road.
4. Pines that are older than anyone you know. This pine is the one we look for when we paddle back from our adventure on the water. It’s the tallest on the east side of the lake. I can’t fit my arms around the trunk!
5. Canoes moving quietly to observe animals. The loon pair that nests near the pine in the distance has already flown south for the winter. We frequently see and hear large fish jump and see the ripples they leave on the water.
6. Beaver lodges where the best non-human engineers reside.
7. Fungus that looks like ears. Not on your list of must-sees?
8. Maple leaves in crimson and orange-green-yellow glory.
9. Five pine cones and an acorn on our picnic table by the shore.
10. I had a great vacation Up North with my parents and family! Here I’m swinging on a chair Dad built to fit between the pines.
Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! ¡Ole! –Rebecca