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  • Writer's pictureWater Women

Reflections from Lake Winnibigoshish

Lake Winnibigoshish was a deeply spiritual experience. Often Cass Lake and Lake Winni loom in a paddler’s mind like a pair of foreboding fraternal twins, waiting down river for all who thru-paddle the Miss. People talk about them in the same hushed tones. “Now be careful crossing Cass and Winni. People have died on those lakes… Some get up at 2am to start their crossing. You better hope the wind isn’t angry that day!”


Winnibigoshish is the fourth largest lake in Minnesota. She also holds the honor of being the place where the Mississippi River is at her widest, over 11 miles across. After our harrowing experience on Cass we felt more than a little nervous to cross her big sister.

As it turns out, the day we crossed Winni was one of the softest, warmest, most peaceful days of the entire trip.



A gentle breeze slowly nudged us along the shoreline for dreamy, endless hours. Lake Winnibigoshish looked as expansive as an ocean, felt almost like a waking dream. Eventually the sun sank low and luminous in the distance, her orange and golden rays reflecting across the water on a perfectly still, glassy surface. The moon rose and then fell against an inky blue-black sky, winking in and out before leaving us to be dazzled by the stars.




These are all memories that will live in my body forever. Even now, as I write this in the deep of Winter, the memories of that day bring heat to my cheeks and my chest. I know that Winni is an incredibly powerful force of nature. I will always, always be grateful that the first time I met her she chose to show us the breadth of her power through a soft and nurturing gentleness.


🌅 CMD



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