Day 2 – Itasca to Walker – 64 miles
Highlights today –
Participate in the MRT ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Headwaters, enjoy pedaling in the Northwoods, visit Paul Bunyan and Babe and adjoining Visitor Center, Beltrami Museum at the Depot, purchase locally harvested wild rice, enjoy the Paul Bunyan State Trail into Walker, relax on Leech Lake, the 3rd largest lake in MN.
Bemidji – The first city on the Mississippi River was established in 1896. Shaynowishkung, Chief Bemidji was the first to greet settlers in 1888. Lake Bemidji means “lake with cross waters” as the Mississippi River cut through the lake.
- Paul Bunyan and Babe, the Blue Ox were built in 1937
- Home to Bemidji State University with 5,000 students
- Notice the locally made art sculptures as you pedal through town
Walker – With a current population of 928, Walker was named after logging giant Thomas Walker in 1896. Torn down in 2010, the Ah-Gwah-Ching (Ojibway for out-of-doors) Center was built in 1907 and served 14,000 tuberculosis patients before it closed in 1962.
- A summer resort location and home to the Paul Bunyan, Heartland, and Shingobe Trails
- Walk to town and enjoy the unique shops
- Home to Leech Lake Brewing – “because paradise requires a brewery”
- International Eelpout Festival every February