Our Little Local Hike (Eden Prairie, MN) 05-Oct-2022

Fall colors at Lone Lake, Minnetonka, Minnesota

When we lived in Oregon, we did a lot of hiking. But on those days when we wanted a walk, but didn’t want to drive anywhere, we had an out-the-front-door favorite. Basically various loops around our neighborhood (which seemed to add a new house each time we went for a walk). It took some map gazing, but we finally found a similar – maybe even better – no-drive option outside the door of our new home here. 😀

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Savanna Portage State Park (Minnesota) 30-Sep-2022

Colorful maple leaves at Savanna Portage State Park, Minnesota

Savanna Portage State Park was created to commemorate the Savanna Portage Trail, a historic route that, more than 200 years ago, allowed the Dakota and Ojibwe, voyageurs, and explorers to cross the Saint Lawrence River Divide. Today’s Hiking Club route (at 5.3 miles (8.5 km) the longest we would do on this trip) touches on part of this old route, allowing us a visceral connection to the long history of this area.

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Scenic State Park (Minnesota) 29-Sep-2022

Coon-Sandwick Lake, Scenic State Park, Minnesota

Scenic State Park was our last park for the day, before we headed south to Grand Rapids (Minnesota!) for the night. We’d gotten another early start on the day, but between the driving and the bog and climbing the tower and taking photos, daylight had slipped into late afternoon by the time we reached Scenic. And a (granted, small) moral dilemma.

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Big Bog State Recreation Area (Minnesota) 29-Sep-2022

The boardwalk at Big Bog State Recreation Area, Minnesota

As noted before, the “bog” in Big Bog State Recreation Area didn’t sound all that enticing from a distance, but proved to be just the opposite up close. Just to provide some scale, the whole bog stretches 70 miles (112 km) from east to west and 30 miles (48 km) from north to south – 2,100 square miles (5,376 km2) or about the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined! The recreation area is a portion of this and is divided into northern and southern units; the Hiking Club route is in the northern unit, so we started there.

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Franz Jevne State Park (Minnesota) 29-Sep-2022

Looking toward Canada across the Rainy River at Franz Jevne State Park, Minnesota

We scaled back our quest a bit today to only three state parks (and a quick visit to Minnesota’s only National Park). This proved to involve plenty of driving and hiking, so we ended-up having done a full day before we stopped to rest for the night in Grand Forks, Minnesota (NOT Michigan!). All of this effort was made just that much easier by the continuation of the excellent sunny, clear, and cool Fall weather. 😎😊

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