Lake Bemidji State Park (Minnesota) 19-Jul-2022

After its birth at Lake Itasca, the Mississippi flows north for a bit, then turns east and enters Lake Bemidji. It exits the east side of that lake, crosses Lake Winnibigoshish, and continues on east to Grand Rapids. There it finally turns south and starts for the Gulf of Mexico in earnest. Its path to Grand Rapids looks like a giant reversed question mark. These changes of direction probably added to the challenge (back in the day) of finding its true source.

Continue reading “Lake Bemidji State Park (Minnesota) 19-Jul-2022”

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.

Continue reading “Nerstrand~Big Woods State Park (Minnesota) 14-May-2022”

Lost Creek Lake (Southwest Oregon) 09-May-2021

Our friend Jennifer is a Southern Oregon native and her parents and brother still live in Medford. When she’s in town visiting them, and our schedules mesh, we try to do a hike with her. Today being Mother’s Day and all, there was just time for a short hike together in the morning. An out-and-back at Lost Creek Lake – between the Lewis Road Trailhead and the Blue Grotto – was deemed just the right length (4.5 miles / 7.2 km). The Grotto’s waterfall is now dry. This is, however, that fleeting moment in the annual water cycle when the reservoir is near full. For a couple of months, it will actually look like a lake, rather than like a mud-ringed bathtub (it’s now at 83% full and that may be as good as it gets this year). Plus there are some different wildflowers in bloom now. So we went out-and-back, enjoying views of the lake, catching-up on gossip, trying to identify odd wildflowers, and dodging (hopefully) the massive growths of poison oak bordering the trail. It was two hours well spent, with plenty of time remaining afterward for Mother’s Day festivities. 🙂

Continue reading “Lost Creek Lake (Southwest Oregon) 09-May-2021”

Wake-Robins in the Forest (Southwest Oregon) 28-Apr-2021

Our recent trip down Oregon’s Illinois River was excellent. But it did reveal some flagging of the old rafting muscles, as it’s been nearly two years since our last go with the flow. So between paddling (not optional on the Illinois), sinew clenching plunges into dang cold (50°F (10°C)) water, pushing and pulling of rafts off rocks, and helping a little with hauling gear, we were a tad sore. We got home and (being tough & stupid) immediately got on with a yard project that’s been next week for a year now. Magnificently heavy mountains of dirt, grass, bark, and pavers got heaved hither and yon over hills and dales of our own making. We were just two pavers short of having recreated the Great Pyramid of Giza when the project was finally finished. I say “finally” secure in the knowledge that such projects never actually finish until the house is sold or burns down during a project involving blow torches.

Continue reading “Wake-Robins in the Forest (Southwest Oregon) 28-Apr-2021”

Wildflowers on Upper Table (Southwest Oregon) 13-Apr-2021

Vernal pools and wildflowers flourish briefly each year on the flat summits of the Table Rocks, two extremely popular local hiking areas. We missed seeing the ponds and flowers last year because of Big V-driven closures. This year we visited Upper Table in February and Lower Table in March, just in time to see the vernal pools form. We promised to come back for the wildflowers, particularly the Dwarf Meadowfoams, subspecies of which are found only here. Yet we kept letting another visit slide. But the rains came late this year and left early and the drought rolled on and temperatures were “above normal” and the vernal pools withered. It suddenly dawned on us that we going to miss the meadowfoams yet again! The LovedOne was busy but I pushed off a Zoom meeting to make an early morning pilgrimage to the top of Upper Table.

Continue reading “Wildflowers on Upper Table (Southwest Oregon) 13-Apr-2021”