Hiking Club Trail #46
Date: July 3, 2022
Location: Watson, MN
Length: 2.0 Miles
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 129.7 of 197
We needed to get everyone out of the house and at the same time needed to find a fairly quiet park for the dogs since it was the 4th of July weekend.
The western part of the state has seen a lot of flooding this year - because of this the lower campground was closed at this park - making it more quiet than it would have otherwise been on a holiday weekend. PERFECT!
The trail was muddy with knee tall weeds and a couple of downed trees due to the flooding - but all in all it was manageable. Nice trail through old growth cottonwood forests and the prairie. No roots or rocks to contend with - exactly what we needed.
We were coming off of Covid quarantine and needed something to do so we decided to check a Passport Club stamp off of our list and visit this SRA. Honestly not a lot to see - the park was hard to find, weeds cover the sign from the road and the GPS is slightly confused about it's exact location.
There is a nice fishing pier that has good views of the lake. Plus a small hiking/horse trail that we explored a bit - didn't go too far afraid the fatigue of covid would come back.
NOTE: The Passport Club Stamp is not located at the park it is up the road a bit at the DNR offices in Hutchinson.
This park was supposed to see us completing Hiking Club trail #46 but Lake of the Woods had other plans...
The lake was at record high levels - we knew it was unlikely that we would be able to hike this one since the trail was right on the beach but we were still hoping. It just wasn't in the cards - 40 feet into the trail it was impassable.
So we enjoyed our first time seeing Lake of the Woods by spending some time wading in the clear waters.
Until next time Zippel Bay - we will be back for that password!
Hiking Club Trail #45
Date: June 9, 2022
Location: Argyle, MN
Length: 1.4 Miles
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 127.7 of 197
Nice flat grass educational trail with both forest and prairie views as well as nice view points of Middle River. We found quite a few yellow lady slippers blooming in the forest (my first time seeing the yellow ones). We got almost to the end of the trail and ran into some flooding so we decided to turn back since we already had the password.
We finished the trail and then drove over to the mill historic site. We enjoyed sitting on a picnic table and listening to all the birds sing and smelling the lilacs that were in full bloom. On this side of the park there are small sand dunes along the river which felt misplaced but nice. The dogs enjoyed being able to cool off in the river.
Nothing terribly special about this HCT trail but the park has a lot more to offer than just that trail!
Hiking Club Trail #44
Date: June 8, 2022
Location: Lake Bronson, MN
Length: 3.4 Miles
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 126.3 of 197
Just due to the location of this park I wasn't overly excited to go - boy was I wrong. This park has been one of my favorites so far. Driving in on miles of farm roads felt kind of apocalyptic - it felt like we left civilization - there was no-one for miles. The perception makes you think this park is going to be small and underfunded - WRONG! This park is large and spans prairies, forests and lakes - definitely a hidden gem!
Bonus for this trip NO mosquitoes - which allowed us to slow down and enjoy the scenery! But we did all come out of there covered in ticks!
Add this park to your must see list.
We earned our 125 mile patch here but they didn't have any patches available. We will get it at the next park.
Hiking Club Trail #43
Date: June 7, 2022
Location: Roseau, MN
Length: 2.0 Miles
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 122.9 of 197
BUGS.... So many mosquitoes!
This park is beautiful, I wish I could have enjoyed it more - but if you stopped moving, thousands of mosquitoes would swarm you. The Lake was pristine with a nice beach. Campground looked nice. Walking through the pines with the view of the lake was my favorite part.
I will be back to see the rest of what this park has to offer. I really do think it has the possibility to be one of my favorite parks.
We did see the smallest fawn I've ever see while driving out through the Beltrami Island Forest it had to have been brand new and under a foot tall.
Hiking Club Trail #42
Date: June 6, 2022
Location: Birchdale, MN
Length: 1.3 Miles
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 120.9 of 197
This park is up there - It's on the Canadian Border and it's a Park I knew nothing about. The GPS didn't quite know where it was either... it took us down a dirt road on the back side of the park where there were no access roads, but we found it.
This area has had record flooding this spring so we weren't even sure we'd be able to hike it given that it sits right on the Rainy River. The hiking club trail starts at the top of a hill that takes you right down to the river. Upon getting to the bottom we found out if we wanted to find the password in this Park we needed to find another way - the river was moving quickly and the trail was underwater... This park is small and I was able to find a route that could get me back to the HCT which hopefully wouldn't be underwater.
This park has not been well maintained recently - probably due to the flooding and remoteness of this park. The hike was muddy, buggy, swampy and hard to navigate. You did have a nice view of Ontario Canada and the Rainy river throughout the hike.
Sometimes the conditions just don't work out, we did get the password so it's still a win but, this isn't a park I need to come back to.
Hiking Club Trail #41
Date: June 6, 2022
Location: Waspish, MN
Length: 2.0 Miles
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 119.6 of 197
We are determined to get more hiking in this year than we have the last couple of years. So today starts a week long vacation to hike the Parks in the NW corner of the state.
I've been trying to make it to this park since we started the Hiking Club years ago, but it is 4 hours away. This was the perfect time as it was on the way to our AirBnB in Warroad.
It's the largest peat bog in the lower 48 states. This was a beautiful/educational, easy hike. The boardwalk is fantastic. We saw a variety of bog plants - Bog Rosemary, Pitcher Plants and Cotton Grass to name a few.
The whole hike felt a little like walking through Whoville the black spruce trees just make it feel like another world.
Hiking Club Trail #40
Date: April 17, 2022
Location: Winona, MN
Length: 2.5 Miles
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 117.6 of 197
First hike of 2022 + Easter Sunday - we might make this a tradition. There are less people in the parks due to the Holiday - just the way I like it.
The trail was nice and started up high on the bluffs, so there wasn't a ton of climbing. Roots and rocks but nothing unmanageable. The trail leads to a beautiful overlook, looking over the bluffs and the Mississippi River - this hike would be spectacular in the fall! It's an out and back so you follow the trail back the way you came.
We did have a surprise run in with an unleashed dog which caused mass chaos for my dogs. Rio got out of her harness while I was getting Penny out of control - thank goodness her and the unleashed dog just sniffed each other. The woman with the dog didn't leash it and just lingered around for awhile getting my dogs more and more worked up. The rules are there for a reason - please keep your dogs leashed!
John A. Lasch is HARD - small park, only one trail and it is all stairs... We stopped to get our passport club stamp and Rio and I decided while we are here we are going to hike it! 585 stairs to the top (and back to the bottom) - the views are amazing (would be better in summer or fall). My legs were like Jello climbing down, but we did it!
Hiking Club Trail #39
Date: September 23, 2021
Location: Solway, MN
Length: 2.9 Miles
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 115.1 of 197
This was the last hike of my Birthday trip. It was way shorter than what is listed in the book. My watch clocked 1.6 miles instead of the listed 2.9. Trail was easy - a little strange as you start in a gated area (to keep deer out) follow a mostly grass trail to a dead end that overlooks the Mississippi River, then you hike back.
Since the trail was shorter than expected and the weather was beautiful - we decided to go check out the picnic area and eat lunch and do a small amount of hiking down to La Salle Lake. The park is very clean, nice and well maintained.
It was also our last day at the cabin so I threw in some pics of our off hiking day yesterday - we had fun on the lake paddle boarding and just enjoying the weather.
This is my quest to find my place beneath the stars - outside the confines of my office and without the pressures of everyday life.