A Stroll From Minnehaha Falls to the Mississippi – Video

It is a sacred ritual, a religious experience. If you grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota as I did, you probably make the pilgrimage to Minnehaha Falls time and time again. Your parents took you there when you were a child. You had picnics there. You found a hiding place to steal a kiss with your first date, you crawled through the caves on the nearby Mississippi riverbank. Long after I left Minnesota for California, I went there to present my wife with her engagement ring. Now I’m back on our anniversary.

Hiawatha-Minnehaha Statue -Minneapolis
Hiawatha-Minnehaha Statue -Minneapolis

Minnehaha has often been translated at “laughing water”. In the Dakota language it means “curling water” or “waterfall”.  Mni means water and haha means waterfall. So, Minnehaha Falls translates to “water waterfall waterfall”.  It became a bucket list spot for riverboat tourists in 1855 when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published his poem Song of Hiawatha, the story of a Native American brave who became smitten by a young maiden named Hiawatha. Longfellow never visited the falls, but there is a statue in honor of the poem and a copy of Longfellow’s real home ( in Cambridge, Massachusetts) nearby.

Hubert Humphrey wanted to show off  his beloved falls to his future boss, the soon to become President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but it was during a drought. The city solved the problem by opening fire hydrants to get Minnehaha laughing again. President Obama was the second president to visit.

Minnehaha Creek wanders about 22 miles through Minneapolis, plunges 53 feet at the falls, then roars, when water levels are high, through about ¾ mile of woodland, past a nice valley, to the Mississippi. An easy hike – and lovely when the leaves are changing in the fall. My wife Pat and I enjoyed it on the date of our anniversary. Here is a video I made:


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