Westwood Hills Nature Center (St. Louis Park, MN) 20-Aug-2022

If you give it a chance, Life will offer you some unexpected connections. Shortly after we moved to Minnesota, a commenter on one of our posts suggested we check out the Minnesota Rovers, the local outdoor club. Turns out this commenter had been a member of the Rovers for years but had just moved from Minneapolis to Southern Oregon! We visualized our paths crossing (metaphorically) as we went east and they went west across the country. πŸ˜‰

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Spring Lake Park Reserve (Dakota County, MN) 24-Jul-2022

We could have taken a break from hiking after our eight state park extravaganza. A break from hiking? That’s silly talk. Plus the weather – which had turned sunny 😎, cooler, storm-free (for the moment), and much less humid – practically begged us to get out and enjoy it. So we sought counsel from our bulging 60 Hikes guide (stuffed as it now is with extra maps and notes). It offered up Hike #41 – a walk along Schaar’s Bluff above Spring Lake on the Mississippi River. Done and done and off we went to the Schaar’s Bluff Trailhead on the east side of the Spring Lake Park Reserve.

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Lake Elmo Park Reserve (Minnesota) 13-Jul-2022

Sesame Street was after my time as a child. But it’s long presence as a U.S. cultural icon makes it hard to not associate “Elmo” with one of that show’s beloved characters. Of course, there’s Saint Elmo – patron saint of stomach diseases, sailors, and women in labor (an odd combination). And the Saint Elmo appellation has been given to people, places, and works of fiction. And it’s fiction (the 1866 novel St. Elmo by Augusta Jane Evans) that gave this lake and its park its name. Still, the Sesame Street jingle was lurking in the background during our visit. 😏

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A Morning on Purgatory (Eden Prairie, MN) 10-Jul-2022

There are a surprising number of public parks and preserves in Minneapolis and tucked away in its numerous surrounding suburbs. We’ve hiked some of these because they are iconic (Minnehaha Falls) or were featured in one of our hiking guides (Wood Lake Nature Center). Many others we’ve driven past without knowing they were even there. Purgatory Creek and Staring Lake fell in this latter category until we were alerted to their presence by Neaton Adventures. Since both are only minutes from our house, they seemed like the ideal (gas saving) choice for a morning’s walk before afternoon thunderstorms rolled through. πŸ˜ƒ

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Bryant Lake Regional Park (Eden Prairie, MN) 29-Jun-2022

Bryant Lake is a small, lakeside park located not far from our new (but 50-year old) home. This park is fairly small, but has lots of water-related activities, disc golf, and a few short trails (Hike #9 in 60 Hikes). It’s chief attraction today was it being between our house and the home store. As we left the house for our gazillionth trip to that store for yet more DIY stuff, we thought: “Why not stop at the park for an hour in Nature? That leak in our plumbing can wait!” So so we did. And it was good. 😁 And the leak went on… πŸ™„

On the paved trail
Such lushness! πŸ˜€
Bryant Lake with a full crop of Water Lilies
On the dirt trail
A small pond hosting turtles, lots of frogs, and at least two muskrats
A fine day at the pond

We note that Congress has recently started hearings on whether UFOs are real (birds aren’t but them UFOs might be!). πŸ›Έ Nice to know that Congress has solved all of our other national problems and the only one left is worrying about UFOs possibly bearing space aliens. πŸ˜’ Or maybe Congress is hoping the Vulcans will show up and save us from ourselves. Whatever. πŸ™„ But we’d like to help by pointing out to that august body that Bryant Park is an official space alien landing site – we saw the sign that proves it!

Space Aliens Land Here!!
Alien or fern? YOU decide!

Later we got to wondering if space aliens might know something about plumbing? πŸ›ΈπŸ˜‰