The weather people pushed off the really, really hot weather until this weekend and beyond. So we decided to sneak another hike into this weather window thus afforded us. Anything, frankly, than spending yet another day fixing yet another surprise! issue with the house. What could be more fun than a sewer pipe, eh? ๐Ÿ˜ณ All this tinkering is taking its toll both emotionally and financially – and hiking is the most cost effective, most nerve-calming respite open to us at the moment. ๐Ÿ˜Š

So we consulted our tattered 60 Hikes guide (Hike #36) and came up with a loop, a beach, and a river at Kinnickinnic State Park across the St. Croix River in Wisconsin. ๐Ÿง€ This would be our second visit to Wisconsin this year but our first to this park. After paying for our $11.00 vehicle daily permit and getting a park map, we headed west on the Blue Trail. The trails here are identified with colored posts and there are maps posted at the major trail junctions. Only the Black Trail to the beach is paved.

We followed the Blue, Yellow, Orange, Purple, and Black Trails – mostly through a green tunnel – to the swimming beach on the St. Croix. The weather was still cool (~70โ„‰ / ~20โ„ƒ) but much more humid (85%) than when we hiked Lake Elmo two days ago. So a certain amount of pore-clearing sweating occurred as we walked along.

On the green-tinged Blue Trail
Humid I
Humid II
On the Purple Trail through the green tunnel
Common Mullein with guest
The St. Croix River from the picnic area overlook
Risking a visit to the orthopedic surgeon
At the swimming beach on the St. Croix
Clouds over the St. Croix

From the swimming beach, we had to go south a bit along the shore to reach the confluence of the St. Croix and the Kinnickinnic. Goldfinches foraged along the shoreline while bald eagles flew overhead and flocks of swallows perched in bare trees.

A pond in the Kinnickinnic Delta
Strolling on the Delta
At the confluence of the Kinnickinnic and the St. Croix
On the Kinnickinnic looking upstream
Bald Eagle
A tree of Tree Swallows
A last look at the Kinnickinnic

After picking-up some trash from the beach, we went back up the Black Trail and turned north on the Purple Trail and then the Yellow Trail to the Green Trail. Paradoxically, the Green Trail is not another green tunnel but rather circles a huge swath of restored prairie. ๐Ÿ˜€

Up the Black Trail
Queen Anne’s Lace
Humid III
On the Green Trail
Restored prairie
Clouds over the prairie
Black-eyed Susans add color to the prairie
Little Birdhouse on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Warbler ๐Ÿค”
Grasses gone to seed
Back to the parking lot on the Blue Trail
Hedge Bindweed (native)

This out-and-back hike came to 5.8 mi (9.3 km) with a surprising 320 feet (98 m) of gain – mostly in getting back up from the beach. It stayed humid but we were done before the day really started to warm. And the flying, biting bugs weren’t particularly enthusiastic today, so all was good. The river, the birds ๐Ÿฆ…, and that huge prairie were this day’s favorites. We sought sustenance (and A/C) at the nearby Prescott Roadhouse (๐ŸŒฎ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ‘) before heading home. Or, to be real, to the home store first for some threaded thing… ๐Ÿ™„

Our route to and from the Kinnickinnic (“P” is the huge prairie)
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