the elba fire tower

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | family

650 steps to get to the bottom, then a few hundred more to climb the tower. Good job guys!

I’ve been going to this place since I was a kid. I get scared every time I climb the tower, and my legs shake when I get back down all the way to the bottom. Now my kids are climbing it every year, too. We visit family and ancestors along the way. If there is a homeland, a longing deep inside for a particular geographical location, a deep connection to land – this is it for me. Along HWY 74 in Minnesota you’ll find an amazing treasure trove of nature and immigrant history, including those of my family coming from Luxembourg to this paradise we call home – the upper Mississippi, the driftless area. Now lined by the Dorer pools housing countless birds and reptiles, the Whitewater River carved a beautiful, bountiful valley. Climb the Elba Fire tower and you can see it all.

Step 109 is dedicated to my Grandfather, Sylvester Ellringer, and my Grandmother, Catherine. Here's my son Sy by his namesake step.


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