Monday, September 30, 2013

Walking in St. Croix Park

Sunday, September 29 proved to be a glorious day in Minnesota. After rain on Saturday -- and much needed rain, so there can be no complaint about that -- Sunday came with beautiful sun.

I was up at 6:15 and on the road about 7 AM on the way to St.Croix State Park, located on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Click here to learn a great deal more about this state park, the largest state park in Minnesota.

The walk in the park was sponsored by the Northstar Trail Travelers , a Volkssports Club which specializes on walks and snowshoe events in Minnesota's state parks.

Traffic was very light on the I-35 freeway going north early on a Sunday morning. In a bit more than an hour I arrived at the intersection with Minnesota Highway 48 and turned east for about 15 miles. Then I found a sign indicating the park was to the right and drove down this country road for about 5 miles. In some ways it made me think of the 3 kilometers before one arrives at Reymontowka.

Soon I started to see signs indicating how to wander through the park to the Lake Clayton Picnic Shelter. I parked the car and walked to a lodge.

Perhaps readers can see there is a bit of smoke coming out of the chimney. Indeed those in the lodge needed a bit of fire since the morning temperature was only 43 (6 C).  Those checking in walkers explained this day brought a choice of a 5K or 6K route, and they were recommending the 5 K route because they thought the 6K route was undoubtedly very wet and muddy from the rain the day before. Well 5 K was my goal anyway because I had to be back in the Twin Cities for a meeting in the late afternoon.

I set out following the blue flag.

It has been a long time since I've done a walk following trail flags rather than street signs -- or having to get out my phone and find my way with Google Maps when street signs go missing!

It was a glorious morning to be walking. I'll just let these pictures speak for themselves.

Along the trail

I found signs marking each kilometer. Each sign gave some information about the history, plants, or animals in the park.

There's always water in Minnesota and this park has plenty. Here's a small pond.

I arrived at this bridge which had a sign that said, "Turn around here."

But first I wanted to see the world from the bridge.

 It always seems to me that the return portion of an out and back trail goes faster. Perhaps that's because one doesn't have to think about the route.

I arrived at the lodge and got out my books. I particularly wanted to do this walk because the postal address for the park, Hinckley, filled in H in my USA A-Z book. I now have only Q and U to do, and have plans for each. In my Minnesota A-Z book I have now completed walks for 17 of the 26 letters. It counted for Pine County in the Minnesota County Book, and I have now completed walks in 25 of Minnesota's 87 counties.

I drove back to Tobie's, a restaurant on the intersection of I-35 and Highway 48. This intersection is at about the halfway mark between the Twin Cities and Duluth, and is a traditional place for stop on those trips. I was glad to be back for when returning from Duluth I stopped here and brought home some wonderful English muffins. I wanted more! I also brought home a loaf the Chippewa Bread. This bread is made with barley flour and includes cranberries and sunflower seeds. It is simply wonderful!

Came home in time to rest a bit and then head off to get some information about going to Bolivia in March, so adventure planning continues.

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