The last two days here have been very lively – or at least the weather has. Hot and sultry days interspersed with nights filled with lashing rain, continuous lightning, howling wind, hail, and small tornadoes! 😳 Considering we just came from a place where it hadn’t rained much for four months – and there are no tornadoes – these nights were quite a “welcome” to the Midwest! Thanks, but no need for an encore. No, really. 😬

All was apparently forgiven overnight, as today dawned clear and sunny, with much less heat and humidity. Only a few clouds remained for artistic purposes. We had stuff to do this afternoon but the cool morning was free for a short walk. We picked Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve from 60 Hikes (#26) because it is close to the metro area and was described as short but strenuous. Our choice is also called the Knob Trail. It wasn’t that strenuous, but the trail does go up and down over moraines formed during the Wisconsin Glaciation – so there was some heavy breathing.

It always amazes us how quickly a forest can go from brown sticks to a green tinge to leaves everywhere. Today, even the oaks (the predominant forest here), which are usually the last to leaf-out, were showing some greenery. There was bird song all over but, consistent with our lack of skill at bird watching, only a few actual sightings. The best of that lot were some Scarlet Tanagers – their flash of red among the branches was unmistakable. The LovedOne keeps trying the bird thing while I focus on wildflowers, as these usually don’t hop out of sight before you can identify them. 🙄

Leaving the trailhead
White Violet
Sunlight in the forest
Large-flowered Bellwort
More than tinges of green everywhere
One of the unnamed ponds along the trail
Anemone with guest
Continuing on…
A buckled boardwalk spans a marsh
Hanrehan Lake
Polyporus squamosus
Almost back to the trailhead

This morning’s walk came to 2.8 miles (4.5 km) with a cumulative 280 feet (85 m) of elevation gain. Even allowing for seasonal closures and winter versus summer trails, there are a lot more trails left to explore here – particularly down toward Minnregs Lake – should we be inclined to do so. 😁

Our route today (heavy blue line); P = parking, B = mountain bike area, S = trails subject to seasonal closure
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