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 ๐Ÿ™„) 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. ๐Ÿคจ

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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. ๐Ÿ™„ 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… ๐Ÿคจ

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Interstate State Park (Minnesota) 17-May-2022

Back in 2017 (oh, those golden days of yore ๐Ÿคจ), 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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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Murphy~Hanrehan Park Reserve (Minnesota) 13-May-2022

The last two days here have been very lively – or at least the weather has. Hot and sultry days interspersed with nights filled with lashing rain, continuous lightning, howling wind, hail, and small tornadoes! ๐Ÿ˜ณ Considering we just came from a place where it hadn’t rained much for four months – and there are no tornadoes – these nights were quite a “welcome” to the Midwest! Thanks, but no need for an encore. No, really. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

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William O’Brien State Park (Minnesota) 10-May-2022

The previous two days here were rainy and cold. Rain, high winds, hail, and small tornadoes ๐Ÿฅบ swept across the state north of us. So we stayed in the metro area. Got some insurance issues sorted. Visited a few indie bookstores. Joined a local pub’s loyalty club. ๐Ÿบ Not a bad way to get further acquainted with our new home. But the trails beckoned. So, when today appeared as a calm one between storms, we were on our way outside…

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Minnesota Valley SRA (Minnesota) 07-May-2022

Continuing on with our state park quest, we went southwest of Minneapolis to hike in a unit of the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area. There we sought out the Hiking Club Trail that circles between the lowland floodplain and adjacent upland hardwood forests. We added some diversions to see a piece of Minnesota history – the Strait House – and a stretch of the Minnesota River.

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Lebanon Hills Regional Park (Minnesota) 06-May-2022

By now, some might be asking (or not): How could you leave the great hiking (and views from mountain tops) in Oregon for Minnesota? ๐Ÿคจ Well, as noted in previous posts, we moved here primarily for family reasons. Any hiking that came with this move is just an added benefit – and there’s plenty of hiking around here, simply of a different kind. Possibly a more age appropriate kind, given that our interest in, and capacity for, epic climbs, backpacks, and hikes has faded into the mists of time.

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Afton State Park (Minnesota) 04-May-2022

Today we ventured a little farther east – almost to Wisconsin ๐Ÿง€ – to a state park along the west bank of the St. Croix River. It apparently won’t last, but today’s weather was almost summer-like: clear, sunny, warm, and gently breezy. None better for hiking. We were glad to be outside and wore shorts to celebrate. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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