Buffalo River State Park is about 30 minutes east of Fargo. It’s the first Minnesota state park we visited. Our previous (and only) visit there had been on a comfortable day in late September of 2021. The air was warm, the Fall colors at their peak, and the river a glassy canvas for colorful reflections. It was mesmerizing.

Then we moved to Minnesota and got caught up in the Hiking Club thing. In that context, our earlier visit “didn’t count” since we’d walked right past the precious password. So sad. 😢 So, of course, we had to go back for it. Unfortunately, today’s hunt for the password wasn’t the same warm, colorful lovefest as was the one a year ago. Today was all about building character. 🥺

A long anticipated cold front had reached Fargo overnight and we awoke to a stimulating 21℉ (-6.1℃) air temperature. But sunshine looked promising as we drove out to the park. Of course, five minutes after we pulled into the parking lot, the clouds arrived, the wind picked-up, and any direct sunshine vanished. 😒

Red sky at morning…

True, the air temperature had now climbed to a sultry (for a penguin) 30℉ (-1.1℃) – hardly winter by Minnesota standards – but we still had to clamber into some winter gear before heading out into the gloom. The Hiking Club route is a little different than the one we did here the last time, so at least we’d be seeing some new terrain. The wind was cutting up on the prairie but (joyfully) muted down along the river.

Heading out on to the windswept prairie
The prairie today
The prairie in September 2021
We press on to find the password
The Buffalo River in Buffalo River State Park, Minnesota
Buffalo River
The Buffalo River in Buffalo River State Park, Minnesota
Cold but not icy (yet)
The forest, although bare of leaves, still sheltered us from the wind
The abutment of a bridge washed away during a Spring flood
Through the picnic area near the swimming pond
The Buffalo River in Buffalo River State Park, Minnesota
Looking upstream from the new, higher bridge
Looking upstream in September 2021
Back through the Oak Savanna

Well, today wasn’t as colorful (or as warm) as our first visit here. But we found the password and starting taking notes on fine tuning our winter gear. It gets cold in Oregon (especially high in the Cascades) but the wind here wailing unimpeded across the prairie requires some extra insulation.

It was a short (2.5 miles / 4.0 km) hike today but the cold gave us the excuse we needed to repair to the Beer & Fish Company in Fargo for restorative libations and food. 🐟🍺😋 Thus warmed, we spent the rest of the day wandering around downtown Fargo trying to look cool and hip. The cool part was easy since it was cloudy and windy all day. But hip? Good luck with that… 😏

Our Hiking Club route at Buffalo River
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