Sunday, October 12, 2014

Walking at Gale Woods Farm

Thursday, October 9, was a splendid autumn day and I didn't want to waste it. I decided to try the walk at Gale Woods Farm. I really didn't know what this was other than a destination. This was a drive of about 45 minutes from where I live.

Upon arrival I went to the entrance for Educational Center.

Here I found the "walk box" and did my paperwork for this walk. But alas the box was missing the route directions and all I could locate was a sketchy map.

Upon leaving I took time to read a sign near the door and learned that the farm had been donated by the Gale family to serve as an educational and recreational site. It is now part of the Three Rivers Park District.

Opposite the sign by the door is a chicken coop.

 I walked by the barn.

Then I turned left and found a garden, now almost in the dormant stage. however I certainly admired the flower pot man.

At the end of this short trail I came to a locked gate for a pasture so I decided I was on the wrong trail. I backtracked and found the correct trail and started towards Whaletail Lake.

On the way I went past a display about Minnesota's State Soil. This was the first I knew that Minnesota had a state soil -- it's Lester Soil. Click here to learn more about that and even hear a ballad about Lester Soil. The map below shows the distribution of this soil type in Minnesota.

To my right on this trail is a forested hill. To the left --not cornfields this time-- but cattails.

Above is the first glimpse of the lake while walking on this trail. It is called Whaletail Lake. My names book is silent about the origin of the name for this lake, but I'm guessing from the air this lake has the appearance of a whale tail.

Walking out on the dock I found something new to me, perhaps because I'm not an angler.

This tube is for the disposal of fishing line. This prevents unwanted lines from being thrown in the lake where they could provide problems for both animal and plant life.

The view of the lake shore from dock was spectacular.

The map now showed I should back track a bit and then find a trail going off to the left.

Is this it? Without route directions in words I had to guess.

I walked steadily uphill for about five minutes. With that much effort put into the trail I surely hoped it was the right one! I was reassured by some posts with trail markers for the autumn walk. I kept following the trail markers, hoping it was correct, for the shape of the trail didn't match what was on the sketchy map.

The view within the forest was beautiful with the mid-afternoon sun.

Eventually I began to walk downhill and then walked across a meadow.

On the other side of the meadow I found a road and some people running. I turned right, thinking that was the correct direction to reach the farm buildings again. I asked a runner if I was on my way to the buildings and they affirmed my idea.

Soon I walked by a pig yard.

They had had a wonderful time rutting up this field.

And then soon I came to pen by the barn holding sheep and goats.

This one came over to greet me.

Approaching the Education Center I found several school buses and had also seen high school students on the last part of my walk, heading in the opposite direction. They are participants in a program called Junior Afterschool Farmers.

I really enjoyed this walk; it was a great thing to do a lovely autumn day.

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