While visitors to Itasca State Park in Minnesota generally make it a point to walk across the Mississippi River where it exits Lake Itasca, I decided to check out Nicollet Creek when I made my visit to the park in late August, 2009. Nicollet Creek is the largest of the three major inlets of Lake Itasca, and the explorer Jean Nicollet called it "the infant Mississippi" and "a cradled Hercules" in his government report. Going upstream in the wetland associated with Nicollet Creek, one comes to a series of lakes and ponds which historians have tried to match with Nicollet's descriptions of a chain of three notable lakes.
The first part of this video is a brief scan of what was determined to be Nicollet's "Upper Lake" by J. V. Brower, the original Commissioner of Itasca State park, based on his reading of Nicollet's official government report. The second part of the video shows me walking up the stream which enters this lake, culminating in a view past a beaver dam which suggested that the ultimate origin of this stream may take awhile to get to.
From a subsequent study of a detailed map of the area, it appears that this stream flows out of Whipple Lake, a mile farther on. And according to the editor of Nicollet's daily journals which were finally published in 1970 (and which I found after my visit to Itasca State Park), his "upper lake" is probably Whipple Lake - definitely a feature to visit on my next visit to the Park.
So, what we have here is part of the incredible basin where water flowing out of the surrounding hills is eventually collected in Lake Itasca which subsequently funnels the water into the coherent stream known as the Mississippi River. At the far edge of the basin is Hernando de Soto Lake which has a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsvMHb...