After several false starts, some dashed hopes, and a last minute reprieve, we finally found a place to live in the Minneapolis area.  Now, at least, we had somewhere to go. What a relief! 😂 This accomplishment justified yet another short hike both to celebrate our find and ease some of the tension that had accumulated during our search for it. 🤪

So, we riffled through the 60 Hikes guide and picked Baylor Regional Park (Hike #20), about 30 miles west of Eden Prairie, as our destination. It had rained all day yesterday but today came up clear, cool, and sunny 😎 – superb hiking weather! It also wasn’t lost on us that we were ahead of the mosquito and black fly season (but maybe at the start of the tick season?) – so we were free to hike without DEET or a lot of arm waving. We started out on the Maple Trail, branched off on to the Prairie Trail, and came back around on the Pine Trail.

Starting out from the parking lot
A slough through the campground
Along the Maple Trail
Leafless trees and a yet brown marsh
On the Pine Trail
A spectral marsh along the trail
Give it a month or two…
Sunlight does wonders for a landscape, even for one without much green yet
Clouds over water

The Pine Trail brought us back around to where we could cross a boardwalk through the marsh to the Lake Trail. That took use down to the shores of Eagle Lake. In Minnesota you are apparently never far from at least one lake. 😉

On the boardwalk across the marsh
One of the circular waterways in the marsh
Sunlight on Eagle Lake

Some places we’ve hiked use the word “observatory” (somewhat obscurely) to indicate a viewpoint or lookover, not one with actual telescopes. But Baylor Regional Park is home to the Onan Observatory – a real one with numerous telescopes and other astronomical equipment. We’re not big astronomy buffs (although I did get to observe the 1986 appearance of Haley’s Comet from a telescope set up at Joshua Tree National Park), but it was nice to see that those who are have a real observatory at their disposal.

Heading back past the Onan Observatory

Our wanderings turned into a good 4.6 mile (7.4 km) hike, with little change in elevation, but with some engaging scenery. The more hiking we do at this botanically quite time of year, the more we want to come back (or go on yet other hikes) when the leaves are out and the marshes are filled with towering cattails (and probably with mosquitos & black flies too 😳).

Baylor Regional Park and Eagle Lake
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