Minneopa State Park (Minnesota) 22-Jun-2022

After lunch in New Ulm, we continued southeast to Minneopa State Park, with visions of bison and waterfalls animating our thoughts. It was now afternoon and the day was approaching hot (89℉ / 32℃), so it was just as well that the Hiking Club trail at this park is a short one. There are two key features here: waterfalls and bison. Our willful GPS took us to the waterfalls first. πŸ™„

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Flandrau State Park (Minnesota) 22-Jun-2022

From Fort Ridgely, we traveled southeast along the Minnesota River on Highway 21 to New Ulm and Flandrau State Park. Our automobile’s GPS then took us on a tour of the town (the old part of which is quite charming) before conceding that we really WANTED TO GO TO THE STATE PARK on the town’s outskirts and directing us there. Just a little reminder that one shouldn’t put unwavering faith in technology, particularly when navigating…πŸ™„

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Fort Ridgely State Park (Minnesota) 22-Jun-2022

The heat dome came, steamed us like an overwrought sauna, then drifted off to beleaguer the East Coast. For at least two nights, the temperature here barely got below 80℉ (26 ℃). Gag. πŸ˜“ Flashbacks to hot nights on the San Juan.

But we pushed on with our home repairs during the early morning hours and in the cool of the downstairs during the heat of the day. Doing so brought new meaning to sweat equity. But then a cooler, less humid day was forecast and we decided to down hammers and get on with our state park quest. πŸ˜ƒ

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Eastman Nature Trail (Maple Grove, MN) 17-Jun-2022

With the next heat dome rolling toward us, we found ourselves wedged between doing a hike or doing more house repairs. We compromised by doing a short hike in the cool of the morning followed by yet another visit in the afternoon to the (air conditioned) home store (OK, take all our money – just give us a box of nails!) So, for the next few days we’ll do repairs in the morning and grill dinner on the furnace-like sidewalk in the afternoon. πŸ˜‰ Meanwhile, back in Oregon, it apparently hasn’t stopped raining (and sometimes snowing) since we left. Ah, the irony of a changing climate. πŸ™„

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Wild River State Park (Minnesota) 09-Jun-2022

We returned from our Utah rafting trip in the early hours of Sunday morning to Sofie (our cat) and a mountain of unpacked moving boxes. Chin scratches and food mollified Sofie (momentarily) but those boxes were much more demanding. So we spent several days unpacking, building shelves, replacing light bulbs, cleaning, etc., etc. We soon longed for those days of yore when all we owned fit into a Volkswagen Bug and a Honda Civic. Sigh. πŸ™„

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Frontenac State Park (Minnesota) 22-May-2022

This week, we’re scheduled to move into our new, permanent (or as permanent ever gets with us πŸ™„) housing. Then a week elsewhere pursuing a rafting adventure. So our Minnesota state park quest will be on hold for at least a couple of weeks – plenty of time for the local mosquitos to work themselves into an anticipatory frenzy. But, wanting to get in one more state park before this hiatus, we decided on Frontenac State Park just south of Redwing.

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Sakatah Lake State Park (Minnesota) 20-May-2022

After finishing the Hiking Club loop at Rice Lake, we had lunch in Owatonna, then drove to Sakatah Lake State Park to finish today’s state park twofer. It had rained briefly at Rice Lake but the weather had now given up on that up in favor of increased humidity. Wearing rain gear just in case got us almost as wet as standing in the rain, so we packed it away. Usually at this point it starts raining again but today Nature spared us that bit of irony. 🀨

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Rice Lake State Park (Minnesota) 20-May-2022

Fair weather hikers? Not so much so back when our weekly work-free hiking day fell on a day of pitiless meteorological torment. These days we have the freedom to not have to hike in stormy weather – no matter how character building that might be. πŸ™„ And, unless you’re into hiking noire (or odder than we are), who wants to look at gloomy photos of wet, sad people ankle deep in mud? But Nature, as you should know by now, always bats last. So today – again driven from our temporary quarters by claustrophobia – we found ourselves doing a state park quest twofer in damp, largely sunshine-free conditions. Our characters soared… 🀨

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Interstate State Park (Minnesota) 17-May-2022

Back in 2017 (oh, those golden days of yore 🀨), we organized a week-long family vacation on Minnesota’s North Shore. Much fun. On the way home, we stopped by Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis to see what they had. A lot of neat items, with – predictably – a solid inventory of water-related items. But also a wall of rock climbing gear. Rock climbing? Minnesota? Not two words we’d thought to put together before.

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Lake Maria State Park (Minnesota) 15-May-2022

Yesterday, our state park quest took us south to Nerstrand. Today, with the weather still holding at exceedingly pleasant, we went northwest to Lake Maria (ma-RYE-ah) State Park near Monticello. Like Nerstrand, Lake Maria preserves another piece of the Big Woods in gently hilly terrain sculpted during the Wisconsin Glaciation. The forest up here didn’t seem as leafed-out and there were just a few wildflowers blooming (mainly anemones and violets). But this park did give us a good rolling walk and a summit too! πŸ˜‰

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Nerstrand~Big Woods State Park (Minnesota) 14-May-2022

Our temporary quarters are fine but a little claustrophobic. This closeness continues to encourage us to go outside as often as possible. Fortunately, after its excesses of last week, the weather seems to be settling down to some approximation of “normal” (whatever that means these days). Hence today was warm and sunny, not humid, and with no bugs (yet). Ideal conditions under which to get on with our state park quest.

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