XC USA 2015

Day 4: Minneap by Foot

4 June 2015


I either got up before everyone, or explored while waiting for others in the shower, and found these awesome eggs.

and this cool bowl

and this cool bowl


I was that kid that got up at 6am at the grandparents house and wandered around looking at the place without people, just looking and thinking, waiting for everyone else to get up. I love doing that in a city, just walking around in the bright hours with empty streets (and, sometimes, Tony Hawk - I'll post a blog on that sometime). 


We all had some breakfast together (I'm told that I cooked), then headed out to downtown Minneap.  


Along the way, while driving with the windows down, I said, "Man, that almost smells great, but it's got like a hint of rubber in it, like tortillas toasting, but with some tires, too…" Nick and Teysia agreed that something had smelled really good, but had an odd after-smell, so they hadn't said anything right away. I made a joke that it was probably a cremation place. Unfortunately, I was right. A cemetery came into view, with a little white building near the road. We all felt a little bit sick thinking it had smelled somewhat good at first… 


We decided to check out some of the river area together, by foot. Mill ruins park, as Nick put it, is an urban archeological study, which reminded me a lot of the High Falls area in Rochester (don't jump those fences, kids). It was kind of like a Hayao Miyazaki film (or his Conan Boy of the Future series), or like Elemental Gimmick Gear (Dreamcast, not that anyone will recognize that), that post-industrial nature takes the world back type of thing. I really enjoyed exploring it, it really felt like that other time in some other reality. 


In another reality, just steps away, ruins were propped up as elemental and decorative facades for very modern buildings, housing museums. This is what the world could look like if we valued old architecture, rather than thinking developmentally and just aiming to mow it all down for the sake of something newer, just to make money off the whole process. I think this is beautiful. 


The stand-alone modern architecture provided a New Design Empire aesthetic that I also appreciated. The landscape had a gradual transition: from ruins covered in grass, to standalone ruins, to ruins tangled up in support and modern architecture jutting up through it, to more and more stand-alone modern architecture, ending in a very post-modern ship of design run aground in the hillside, a crashed space ship from Denmark or Sweden (it could be a very trendy IKEA, no?)


Feeling rejuvenated from the exploration, we figured we ought to check out the famous Mall of America™. It was… interesting. Not as amazing as I'd expected, but, then I grew up going to the Carousel Mall in Syracuse, now Destiny USA™, supposedly larger than the Mall of America™, but I guess Syracuse doesn't have roller coasters… 

wall of legos!

wall of legos!


We actually took Aurora in with us because we weren't about to leave her in the car. So she peeked out of a backpack as we walked around (photo from Teysia @teysialynn - she has a bunch of images there, just remember it's 3 years ago, so get to scrolling!).


I found the place saturated with spectacle, as can be expected, but it was also kind of disturbing in its barrage of "be happy!!!" It was perhaps the truest American consumerscape: enter a mall/theme park, buy buy, buy, feel good, come again next week. The images are mostly in black and white in an attempt to exhibit that feeling of dystopia despite the attempt at glorious, over-saturated, sugary indulgence. 

A fake campsite. In a fake theme park. In a mall.

A fake campsite. In a fake theme park. In a mall.


Afterwards, we headed over to Vertical Endeavors. Hanna and Adrienne both talked the place up, and it was pretty great. We did some top-roping and a tiny bit of bouldering. I liked the sculpture out front. 


We ended up driving back to Adrienne's neighborhood, because I'd seen a path leading back towards a big water tower. I figured it might be a good place to camp for the night. We followed a dual track, which I figured was just a utility road, and we set up after dark, right where the road began to get more "forested" (if you can call it forest…). 

Jacob Sell Hicks