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Yes, a road trip included an injury on a Mississippi River Bluff! At the John A. Latsch State Park on the Mississippi River between Lake City and Winona, I took a fall on a wet wooden step. I’ll first give you the climb and the pictures from the bluff. However, look for links to jump ahead to see it! And here’s a link to the overall Minnesota post.
John A. Latsch State Park – Table of Contents
John A. Latsch State Park Overview
Latsch became a state park in 1929 when the state authorized funds for development. John A. Latsch donated land in 1925 and additional land in 1927. Therefore, the name! If you donate land, Minnesota may also name a state park after you! As you see on the map, the park primarily provides viewing from the top of Mt. Charity. (The area has three peaks: Faith, Hope, and Charity!)
The park remains one of the smaller state parks. Park management is handled by the staff at Frontenac SP, north of this one. A self-service station allows you to buy a state park pass. There is no staff here. As you can see from the sign, besides the trail to the top, there is one picnic area, a geocaching site, and fall color viewing.
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The fateful decision that led to an Injury on a Mississippi River Bluff!
On this road trip, targets include all the state parks in SE Minnesota. There are three on the Mississippi. Latsch lies between the other two. Since my plan included visiting all of them, I thought maybe just driving in would count. And the rain made everything wet.
Of course, wooden steps are “slippery when wet,” so I debated. But, hey, I can’t just set foot in the park and leave. So, I decided I needed to climb and see the river from 500 feet up! Did I tell you there are 592 steps covering the one-half-mile trail? Off I go! I do have a rain slicker, so I took that with me. It’s very light rain but ….
The Climb – Still no Injury on a Mississippi River Bluff!
… up I go, all 592 steps. Of course, I start out too fast, and soon I’m stopping and gasping for breath! Amazingly, I made the climb in about 25 minutes. And that included taking a few pictures along the way and talking to other climbers. Luckily, no Injury on a Mississippi River Bluff yet!
The view gets better as I continue to ascend. And the rain lessens.
The view from the top
As you can see, even in light rain, the view is worth the climb! However, ask me again after I’ve fallen! At this point, we stand about 500 feet above the river. Since I’ve driven much of the Great River Road, I can report there are many views similar to this, but this is one of the better ones. Wherever you live, driving a section of the Great River Road (you see it in the picture) makes a great trip.
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And the Mississippi runs from near the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico, dividing the US nearly in half. There are 26 states on the eastern side, 22 on the western side, and two on both sides! However, both Minnesota and Louisiana are considered western states as more of their land is on the west side. Of course, if you live on or near either coast, you are a long way from it.
And I’ll get to my story about my injury on a Mississippi River Bluff in a bit. Just be patient!
However, if you are a road-tripper, you are likely to cross the river at some point! Route 66 crosses the river near St. Louis on the Missouri/Illinois border. All of the major east/west Interstate highways cross the Mississippi. And if you visit the major cities on the river, you will likely cross it a few times on your visit.
The Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) is the largest metropolitan area on the river. The other large cities you may visit are St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans. Here’s a link to my posts about the Great River Road.
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Have you heard that coming down becomes more difficult than going up? It certainly does when the steps are wet! Yes, wooden steps are definitely “slippery when wet.” On the way down, I met a guy who was resting from climbing too fast, like I did! He grew up in New Jersey but now lives in Florida. However, he travels for work and took the river drive on the weekend. He’s a project manager in the solar power industry.
In spite of slippery conditions, all went well until…
Now – Injury on a Mississippi River Bluff
…about 3/4 of the way down, I talked with a young family also descending. Without paying enough attention, I stepped down on a step that slanted too far to the left. My feet went left, and the rest of me went right.
I not only fell to the steps, but I also rolled off down the hill. Fortunately, I managed to grab onto a small tree and stopped myself. Needless to say, I felt disoriented! First, a quick inventory. Nothing seemed broken; my glasses were OK, my phone didn’t break, and overall, I’m lucky! But the injury on a Mississippi River bluff could have been worse!
The man with the family who came to my rescue said he did trail running for enjoyment and had taken several falls like that. He said your body releases adrenaline and a few other chemicals. I was dizzy and shaky for a while, but I did get up. He helped me down the worst spots. And they gave me some Nilla Wafers to get some sugar in me. (The adrenaline and the fall likely burned through a lot of blood sugar.)
When I’m down, I still felt dizzy and shaky. I cleaned off the blood from my nose and took inventory of what else I might have done to myself. Unfortunately, I had slightly damaged my shoulder, but I could drive and still do everything. I just took a while to recover from my shoulder injury as well as for my nose to heal and the swelling to go down. Nothing serious but a warning to be more careful. Or not take wet, wooden steps!
The End of Injury on a Mississippi River Bluff
Although I wish I hadn’t fallen, I enjoyed taking and sharing the pictures above. I visited two more state parks and ended the day in Winona. And there’s the story of my injury on a Mississippi River Bluff.
Classic Rock Recollection
“Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan
….I promise myself to treat myself
And visit a nearby tower
And “climbing to the top“…..
Written by Gilbert O’Sullivan
#mnstateparks #mississippiriverbluffs #injuryontheriver