Oh Yah, Doncha Quack?

Minnesota and Ontario

With Adam Conn

August 2008

NOT may make his home in the South, but at heart he's a northern duck. Though sometimes his blood is getting a bit thinner so when he found himself really north, it was chilly time. Even in the summertime. Minnesota is the home of International Falls, which is often in the news as one of the coldest places in the United States.

So suddenly he found his southern self up north. His navigation was really bad. Really really bad. So instead of landing in Minnesota as planned, he first found himself in Fargo. And not just Fargo, but WEST Fargo. Even watching the movie Fargo makes him feel cold.  It was no time to sight-see, it was time to fly a bit more east and see what he could see.

West Fargo

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so let's go to right to the source. Battle Creek was to far so it's the next best thing - the Malt-O-Meal company, the fifth leading makers of breakfast cereal. It was off brand, but NOT was hungry and needed nourishment for his flights.

Malt O Meal

NOT had a lot of flying ahead of himself as he worked his way up towards Canada, and while his cereal and positive thinking can only get him so far, a bit of inspiration was an order. And who better for NOT than Lucky Lindy himself. A bit of history of Lindberg's Minnesota roots gave NOT some push, for if Lindy could fly across the Atlantic alone, without the benefit of wings even, then NOT can fly to Canada. Up, up and away!


Despite whatever the Department of Homeland Security says about our borders, NOT found it not difficult at all to cross into Canada. He didn't have to even fly in backwards and say he was leaving.

Long flights sometimes get to NOT, so again some inspiration helps. In this case, he found himself landing on Terry Fox. Well not Terry himself, but a statue honoring Fox (which NOT was happy since a real fox would be rather dangerous to him).

Terry Fox

Canadian Terry Fox stands as one of Canada's greatest heroes.  Famous for his Marathon of Hope, where Fox attempted in 1980 to run across the country of Canada to raise funds for cancer research. Fox himself was a cancer survivor having had his leg amputated because of osteosarcoma. Running east to west, he started his run in St. John's, Newfoundland and indended to end it in Vancouver, British Columbia. Unfortunately, he was forced to abandon his run just north of Thunder Bay, Ontario because his cancer had returned and affected his lungs. He inspired the nation but was never to finish his run, succumbing to his cancer less than a year later. The spot where he had to stop his run is now a park, where NOT found himself finally alighting.

Terry Fox Statue

After all that flying, and hearing about running, NOT was thirsty, so off in search of water was the next order of business. Luckily, nearby was the Kaministiquia River, which in and of itself is a mouthful.

Kaministiquia River

Unfortunately as NOT was lazily floating down the river no one had told him that along the river lies the Kakabeka Falls, a 39 meter waterfall which is the largest waterfall in the Lake Superior watershed.  NOT wondered what that roaring sound was...

 Kakabeka Falls

Kakabeka comes from the Ojibwe Indian word gakaabikaa which means "waterfall over a cliff." The Ojibwe sometimes were the master of the obvious.


While masters of the somewhat obvious, there is also a rich heritage around the falls.  Most famous is the legend of the Green Mantle. The legend tells of an Ojibwe chief who upon hearing news of an imminent attack from the Sioux tribe instructs his daughter, Princess Green Mantle, to devise a plan to protect her people. She entered the Sioux camp along the Kaministiquia River and, pretending to be lost, she bargained with them to spare her life if she would bring them to her father's camp. Placed at the head of the canoe, she instead led herself and the Sioux warriors over the falls to their deaths, sparing her tribe from the attack. The legend claims that one can see Green Mantle when looking into the mist of Kakabeka Falls, a monument to the princess that gave her life to save her people.

NOT's been a fan of visiting higher education institutions, so while in Ontario he needed to visit Lakewood University, home of the Timberwolves and the only university in Northwest Ontario. You wonder how far the Timberwolves need to travel to play a game.

Lakehead Timberwolves

Now if NOT thinks his flight has been long, he's got nothing on his friend Zim. Zim was on his way to New Zealand, which is a trans-Pacific flight of over 6,500 miles, which makes NOT's 1,000 miles to Thunder Bay look like a quick jaunt. Well, though, Zim's taking the easy way there though - in an airplane. Cheater!

Zim in Minnesota

Just thinking of that flight that Zim has ahead of him just makes NOT's wings hurt. So why fly when he can ride? Even if it is on dogback. In this case, he found himself on Biston back as Adam and Bison show off their new ribbon from their latest conquest in Brandenburg, Kentucky, with Bison's friend Cappy Pruett.

Ribbon Winning Dogs

In the end, NOT had gone to the dogs. 


North American Travel

United States Travel

Minnesota Travel

Photos courtesy of Adam Conn

Last Updated September 2008