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The First Day

June 21st, 2011

Goodbyes are the gateways to growth.  This trip began with several.

I said goodbye to my mom.  I said goodbye to my sister.  I said goodbye to my dad, at least by phone.  I said goodbye to the family dogs.  I said goodbye to my roommate for the past year, Rob.

Mile 0: Fridley, MN

And then I was gone.

My first hockey stop will be in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Tuesday, but for the first night I stayed in Woodenfrog Campground just outside of International Falls, Minnesota.  It was a semi-rustic state forest campground, appealing for both its large pine trees and its low price.  The bugs tend to be horrendous this time of year in northern Minnesota, but a constant breeze and mild temperatures kept them at bay during my stay.  It was, overall, quite pleasant.

Woodenfrog Campground at Kabetogama Lake

Between Fridley, Minnesota (where I started) and International Falls, there is a city called Eveleth.  Like the other towns in the area, Eveleth is a mining community, its prosperity tied directly to the productivity of the enormous taconite mines on Minnesota’s iron range.

Sam looks tiny in comparison to "King of the Lode," a retired mining truck

Since Eveleth is a small rural midwestern town, it’s required to have a enormous statue of something to draw in tourists.  Since Eveleth is a hockey town, it should come as no surprise that the large gaudy object they chose was… a big hockey stick!

A HUUUUUGE hockey stick in Eveleth, MN. And a normal-size picnic table (?)

My encounter with the “Big Stick” was serendipitous.  I had not been aware of its existence until I passed billboards advertising it.  Given that this trip has hockey at its core, I knew I had to stop and see it.  A good omen, perhaps.

Given that the Big Stick was a big wooden hockey stick shooting a big wooden puck.  I knew what I had to do.

I think he's going high-glove. Might be a stinger. (That's me in the lower right -- click to zoom)

With the Big Shot saved, I continued on.

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  1. andrea
    June 22nd, 2011 at 00:19 | #1

    Ha ha that hockey stick is great!!! I definitely think that’s a great sign that you will have an awesome trip!!! I got the phone numbers too, thanks! Have fun in Canada! Love ya!

  2. June 24th, 2011 at 02:39 | #2

    The Hockey Hall of Fame is in Eveleth!

    Looking forward to the updates. =)

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