A Hike Around Cleary Lake (Minnesota) 12-Apr-2023

I seem to have gotten my footwear fashion choices completely reversed lately. Yesterday, it was summer boots on a mushy, wet, slippery trail. Today it was waterproof winter boots on a mostly dry trail. πŸ₯Ύ I blame the shock induced by the sudden appearance of sunlight and warmth. πŸ™„

Sporting heavy winter boots with shorts seemed like some variation on a Sven and Ole joke. Thankfully, no one we passed on the trail actually laughed (at least outwardly). 😏

Our one previous visit to Cleary Lake Regional Park last summer had ended abruptly. First, we found the paved trail around the lake closed for construction.

Then, as we were backtracking to the unpaved trails, we saw people running from the lake toward their cars – as though Godzilla was about to emerge from the depths. Taking no chances, we too ran for our car, arriving minutes before a massive thunderstorm erupted overhead.

Today’s weather was the absolute opposite: sunny, warm (83℉ / 28℃), light breezes, no humidity, and no bugs. No lightning or hail stones this time. And no Godzilla either. πŸ‰

From the main parking lot, we followed the now almost completely melted out ski trails on a loop through the southern end of the park. There were a few wet spots but, for the most part, the trail was a dry, duff-covered road.

Cleary Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake, Minnesota
On our way to the unpaved trails
Cleary Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake, Minnesota
Most of the unpaved trails had melted out
Cleary Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake, Minnesota
The trail is clear but the forest is still bare
Cleary Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake, Minnesota
Through the forest on snow and dirt
A shadow of leaf past

What was startling were the frog choruses in every body of water we passed – almost loud enough in a few places to require us to shout. There are going to be a LOT of tadpoles in a few weeks. 🐸

Leaves on water I
Cleary Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake, Minnesota
On through the forest
Leaves on water II
Water moving over reeds
Cleary Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake, Minnesota
Some stretches of almost ice remained
The day started out warm and only got warmer
Reflections (and croaking frogs)
Waiting for leaves

We regained the paved trail at Intersection 9 and went clockwise around Cleary Lake from there on the dry, snow-free pavement. We’d seen no one on the unpaved trails but here we were anything but alone. We shared the trail with a variety of bicyclists, walkers, inline skaters, dog walkers, and joggers. The mom on inline skates pushing a double stroller was a most remarkable sight.

On the paved path – it was a though it had never snowed 😏
The west end of Cleary Lake
Reflections on the creek entering the lake
Continuing on…
Looking at Cleary Lake from its north shore

The park’s southern terrain undulated a bit but this was otherwise an easy 5.3 miles (8.5 km) hike. It was heavenly walking compared to the lumpy surface we were on yesterday. And, of course, the weather was amazing.

Sadly, this gift of Spring is only forecast to last for another 2 days – then it’s back to colder with rain and a dash of snow(!). 😟 Which makes us extra glad we were able to get out today and work on our tans. 😎😁

Our loop around Cleary Lake

One thought on “A Hike Around Cleary Lake (Minnesota) 12-Apr-2023

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  1. The chorus of frogs is a sure sign of spring in Minnesota. No one cares about your footwear. Lastly, I really like the leaves in water images, especially that abstract shot.


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