Ancient forefathers of the native American people, those who live in the northern parts of the land, tell a legend, a legend as old as any can be in this land. Like most stories from the past, it has been told and retold down through the generations, until it has become a mere whisper into our own time. Those telling the story say that before these natives of the land were known as Indians, they knew themselves as the people in the shadow of a great giant. They tell how the far north was guarded by this great white giant, so large that he could not be seen over, he could not be walked around.
His breath was a mighty mist. Clouds of cold rolled down when he howled his words, covering his feet and the valleys below with ice and snow. He could be heard moving across the land. Out of the cold mist came great moaning and thundering, as if the very earth was being moved.
All the days that the giant was on the land no one could enter there, for he covered it all with his greatness.
Legend says it is he who keeps the land for those who will someday come. Until that time no one dared to enter the land of this giant. Those who had tried never returned. It was whispered that in his fury the giant could blow a cold darkness and entire villages would be swallowed, never to be seen again.
These early people of the north called his name Mesabi, it means "a great and stout giant man". It was the purpose of this Mesabi to travel across his land, to protect and gather its great treasures. The ancient ones say he spread across all the Northland for many generations. He gathered these treasures up beneath him as he went. He would hide them in safe places, disguising some, burying others. For all his years the great Mesabi was at this task.
In time the great Mesabi began to grow old, tired, and weak. He lay still on the land. He began to sleep on top of the treasures he had gathered. As he slept he began to seep into the contours of the earth. His spirit began to fill the footprints he had made as he had traveled the land, and the warm winds of the forest of the south carried new seeds into the north land of the sleeping giant Mesabi. There the moss and trees began to grow over the land of the great Mesabi. Like a great blanket they covered his treasures as he disappeared into the shadow of time. The ancient legend says that, "There the treasures shall be hidden until the winter of no snow."
In time there came such a winter. Although the wind was cold, it came dry and strong from the south. The season of snow did not come. The cold icy breath of the great Mesabi was no longer on the land. It was in this season that the long search for great treasure could find its reward.
Iron in abundance was found beneath the contours of the earth where the Mesabi had gone to sleep. Through the thick forest and across the frozen land men carved a trail into the ancient land of the great Mesabi. The treasure of wood in abundance, land for farms, and water in amounts untold was found. The creatures of the land were strong and plentiful. Hunting and fishing were among the treasures left by the Mesabi. Though the great Mesabi sleeps now, his legend says that the treasures he gathered are in abundance for all those who will follow. Although the trail, forged through the land by our forefathers grows dim, there is a promise of undiscovered treasures yet to be found. Perhaps the trail we make into the land of Mesabi will be one day spoken of as a legend too: The legend of the new Mesabi TrailSM.