Sorry this has been so frustrating. This reply post is to answer your question about file locations. We are tracking down an answer to your second question about the “wall” you are finding.
First, make sure you are on the MnGeo FTP site ( ftp://ftp.lmic.state.mn.us/pub/data/elevation/lidar/ ), not the original DNR FTP site.
The folder structure has changed several times since the original readme files were written, so we will be updating the readmes very soon to refer to the current folder paths. Wright County data is here: ftp://ftp.lmic.state.mn.us/pub/data/elevation/lidar/county/wright/
The Situation Now
Currently, the 1-meter DEMs are only available in geodatabase format, for which you need Esri’s ArcGIS software. Their free viewer, ArcGIS Explorer Desktop, also can read that format, but it is intended as a viewer, not a fully functional GIS. Esri software uses all of the individual files, such as “a00000000a.gdtable”, to show the user a 1-meter DEM feature class. That’s why you can’t find a separate 1-meter DEM file.
If you can use geodatabase format, you have two options:
1. Download the whole county file, named “elevation_data.gdb.zip”, which includes all the available layers (which are listed in this table: http://geoint.lmic.state.mn.us/lidar.php
2. Download smaller tiles in the “geodatabase” folder. The “tile_index_map.pdf” in the Wright County folder will show you the tile boundaries on a MnDOT highway map so you can figure out which tiles you need.
If you don’t have access to software that can read geodatabase format, Tim Loesch’s handout, “LAS File Processing Using LASTOOLS” (ftp://ftp.lmic.state.mn.us/pub/data/elevation/lidar/LAS_File_Processing_Using_LASTOOLS.pdf ) may help in using the LAS data you have downloaded.
In the Near Future
DNR and MnGeo are nearly finished developing a new web browser application which will make the download process much easier and provide more options, including an open format (binary floating point) for the raster data. It will also provide an online viewer. The site will be in beta-testing stage next week and released soon after. Keep an eye on MnGeo's LiDAR info webpage: http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/chouse/elevation/lidar.html
for an announcement of its availability, or let me know off-line if you'd like to be notified directly.
-Nancy Rader, MnGeo, email@example.com