Thanksgiving at Crow-Hassan (Hanover, MN) 23-Nov-2022

Last Thanksgiving, after a hike in our then favorite local forest, we reflected on several of the big things in life that we were thankful for. We’re again thankful for all of those blessings. 😊 Of course, back then, we wouldn’t have imagined that this Thanksgiving would find us in Minnesota. But here we are, thankful to be a little closer to family and a little farther away from wildfires. But we seem to have brought some of the Western drought with us. Sorry about that… 😒

Thanksgiving Day itself was predicted to be cloudy, but the day before wasn’t, so that’s when we went for our hike of thanksgiving. We dressed as though it was almost Winter in the Upper Midwest, with snow on the ground. Well, there is still some snow but the rest of the forecast didn’t pick-up on the “winter” part. So as the brilliant sun 😎 beat down on us and the air temperature pushed into near record territory (47℉/8.3℃), we found ourselves a tad overdressed. But we pressed on…

We’d first been to Crow-Hassan Park Reserve in late June, when the weather was just as inviting then as it was now. πŸ€” We went back today because it’s trails are open to multi-use all year (no ski-only trails in winter), it’s a good mix of forest and prairie, we always enjoy visiting a river (the Crow in this case), and there are 16 miles (25 km) of trails to choose from. Good stuff.

There was one car at the Horse Trailhead when we arrived. The lot was almost full when we returned. But the park is so big, we only saw three other people as we did our loop. This time it was a clockwise trek from the trailhead (TH) to Intersection 10 then 15 β†’ 13 β†’ 9β†’ 7 β†’ 3 β†’ 6 β†’ 5 β†’ 8 β†’ 10 β†’ TH.

At the Horse Trailhead
Near Intersection 10
Approaching some restored prairie
Out on to the prairie
And back into a patch of forest
Sunlight streams into the forest
This old tree reminded The LovedOne of Shiva
And back on to the prairie
Sun and grasses
Almost to Intersection 15

Between Intersections 15 and 13, the trail swings pretty close to the Crow River but we had to go off-trail to get a close look at it. Just north of 13 there’s an official landing spot where we got yet another look at the river. It’s edges were solidly iced but there was flowing water in center channel. We could hear chunks of ice in the flow being banged and ground into the solid ice along the edges.

Morning along the Crow River, Crow-Hassan Park Reserve, Hanover, Minnesota
Morning along the Crow River
A twig melted into the ice along the shore
Along past Intersection 13
Looking upstream along the Crow River, Crow-Hassan Park Reserve, Hanover, Minnesota
Looking upstream along the Crow River
Looking downstream along the Crow River, Crow-Hassan Park Reserve, Hanover, Minnesota
Looking downstream along the Crow River
On toward Intersection 9 and Bluestem Horse Camp
Bluestem Horse Camp
The sound of cooing pigeons emanated from the barn
Sun and shadow
Approaching Intersection 7
The sunshine poured through the forest…
And over one of the birdhouses on the prairie
On toward Intersection 5
Shades of gold
Little tree on the prairie
South Twin Lake
Toward Intersection 8
And then toward Intersection 10
Last season’s oak leaves will hang on until Spring
Back at the trailhead

All told, 5.6 miles (9 km) with about 360 feet 110 m) of gain thanks to the rolling terrain. It was a glorious day to be outside. A few extra calories got shed, paving the way for an extra helping (most likely of pie πŸ₯§πŸ˜‹) the next day. 😁

Our route around Crow-Hassan (red circles are intersection numbers). (1) Prairie Lake, (2) South Twin Lake, (3) North Twin Lake

If the only places you’ve ever visited in Minnesota are the Twin Cities or the North Shore, you might have overlooked the fact that much of the state is devoted to agriculture. A lot of it. When it comes to the bird of the moment, Minnesota is the top turkey producer in the U.S., with 46 million turkeys πŸ¦ƒ raised annually on over 450 mostly family-owned farms. Most (90%) of these birds are shipped out-of-state. But we don’t eat turkey, so that’s one extra bird for someone else, somewhere else. πŸ˜‰

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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