Museum intern plays early settler in 47-mile walk to Braham Pie Day

by Kathy Tomlinson

Contributing Writer

Gammelgarden intern, Reece Almendinger. Photo supplied
Gammelgarden intern, Reece Almendinger.
Photo supplied

Traveling through Chisago County this week, residents may catch a glimpse of Reece Almendinger making his way through the countryside to celebrate Braham’s 25th annual Pie Day.

Almendinger will start his journey on Wednesday, July 30, at the Scandia-based Gammelgården Museum, where he is employed as an intern. Over the course of this three-day, 47-mile walk, he will visit various historic landmarks before arriving in Braham on Aug. 1.

Set to head north from Scandia around 10 a.m., he anticipates visiting the Karl Oskar House and the Gustaf Anderson House in Lindstrom by 1 p.m. He hopes to reach North Branch by 8 p.m. to conclude the first day.

On Thursday, Almendinger will stop at the Cheewin Lodge, home of the first YMCA camp in Minnesota, and Delmore Fransen House, a prefab log home constructed in 1869, located on the Chisago County Fairgrounds in Rush City. He plans to arrive in Braham on Friday morning and consume a fresh slice of pie before going to work at the Pie Day event.

When asked about the purpose of this adventure, Almendinger explained, “If an 1860 immigrant needed to go somewhere important, he might have had to walk.” He hopes to replicate the experience just like an 1860 immigrant, he noted, and he realizes the need to rely on friends and family for support and to ensure his safe arrival.

Almendinger had been contemplating this idea for several weeks before presenting it to the Gammelgården Board. When he pitched the plan to board members, along with his own family, he was surprised at their support and enthusiasm.

Though he admits the journey will be easier than that from earlier times, he has tried to eliminate as much of the 21st century comforts as possible. But he will bring his cellphone, so he can keep others apprised of his progress.

Almendinger is packing light and has eliminated items such as a tent and rain gear. He will be traveling in his 1860 immigrant costume, similar to the attire of early settlers.

While he is excited to take to the road, he is anxious about the possibility of rain. And while the journey may be less arduous due to paved roads and established cities, he said he is prepared that “it may not be easy at times.”

This Gammelgården intern hopes the trek will give him the opportunity to think and write about his experience. He said he is determined to “get to Pie Day no matter what it takes.”

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