Recently I found myself concurring with BIT|Hiker’s musings about the unsung merits of hikes that …are neither rigorous nor lengthy. Although some undoubtedly do, I’ve never thought of hiking as a competitive sport – where if you haven’t endured X miles with Y feet of gain you’re not in the league tables. The main point (to me at least) is to just get out into Nature and do something that’s good for your body, mind, and soul! ๐Ÿ˜

Which is not to say that I don’t find tales of thru-hikes, long trails, and FKTs noteworthy and inspirational, because they are and I do. Some likely find them aspirational as well. And the ultralight gear developed for these endeavors has enabled me to stay in the hiking game longer than I could have hoped. But they’re also only a tiny fraction of the hiking universe and their existence shouldn’t take away from anyone enjoying whatever hike they’re capable of (or interested in) doing.

Which brings us, coincidentally ๐Ÿค”, to the little hike we did today from Moir Park, along Nine Mile Creek (Bloomington’s Central Park), to the Minnesota River (and back). This is a preserved riparian corridor, with Interstate 35W to the east and much of residential Bloomington to the west. Yet down in the trees along the creek, it felt as though we were in some remote area far from any city.

We started at Moir Park, went east and then south along the creek on a paved trail, which became packed gravel south of W 106th Street all the way down to the Minnesota River. On the way back, we took the much narrower, dirt single-track that runs behind private homes on the bluff above the creek. At W 105th Street, we took a signed option to surface streets that lead to where we’d parked.

We go hiking and I take photos while we do so – in that order: hike first, photo second. So I don’t start a hike with any kind of theme in mind – either it’s just random snaps or Nature itself suggests one. Sometimes leaves. Sometimes mushrooms. Whatever. Today we got such a suggestion and it was for reflections (somewhere betwixt physics and metaphysics), so I went with that.

On the paved trail along Nine Mile Creek, Bloomington, Minnesota
On the paved trail along Nine Mile Creek
Nine Mile Creek, Bloomington, Minnesota
Morning along Nine Mile Creek
Reflections I
Reflections II
Reflections III
Nine Mile Creek, Bloomington, Minnesota
Nine Mile Creek
Reflections IV
Nine Mile Creek, Central Park, Bloomington, Minnesota
Nine Mile Creek
Reflections V
Nine Mile Creek makes a sharp bend where it intercepts a large drain
Reflections VI
Along the trail
Fall colors were starting but have a ways to go
The little dam (or weir) across Nine Mile Creek
The forest canopy is still mostly green
Reflections VII
Reflection of the Nine Mile Creek trail bridge and the W 106th Street bridge
Reflection of the trail bridge and the W 106th Street bridge
Reflections VIII
The shallow lake between Nine Mile Creek and the Minnesota River
The Minnesota River at the end of the Nine Mile Creek trail, Bloomington, Minnesota
Reflections on the Minnesota River at the end of trail
Heading back on the upper trail

This proved to be a very enjoyable way to spend a lovely Fall morning. We got in 4.4 miles (7.0 km) of walking, with just 150 feet (46 m) of gain. And we were – again – amazed at how many bits of Nature are tucked away throughout Minneapolis and its environs! ๐Ÿ˜Š We ruminated (or perhaps reflected) on this during post-hike sustenance and libations consumed not far from the trailhead at Northstar Tavern. ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿบ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ‘