Hiking Club Trail #48
Date: August 21, 2022
Location: Altura, MN
Length: 2.2 Miles
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 136.2 of 197
This park is popular and everyone here has dogs (thankfully we left ours home). If your dogs are like mine and are a bit reactive around other dogs this is not the park for them.
The hiking club trail basically climbs to the top of a bluff then takes you back down. Lots of rocks and roots combined with narrow trails, cliffs and a river crossing made this hike difficult. Hiking with a person who is visually impaired all of these things combined make for a challenging day - even more challenging when you add in a lot of steps with no railings.
Some of the trails here reminded me of the North Shore - I enjoyed the challenges and the comforting reminder of one of my favorite places.
Coming down the bluff there are hundreds of stairs, some so steep they are labeled a ladder.
It was a good and challenging day spent in nature enjoying the bluff lands of southern MN.
Hiking Club Trail #47
Date: August 13, 2022
Location: Granite Falls, MN
Length: 4.3 Miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate with some larger hills
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 134.0 of 197
FROGS!!! So many frogs. The paths, especially in the wooded areas, were covered with leopard frogs. The dogs were going nuts for 4 miles trying to chase them all.
This park was hilly and went from prairie to woods. At the tops of the hills there were expansive views of the Yellow Medicine River Valley. Wildflowers spanned the prairies.
Parts of the trail double as a horse trail - we met some very nice people on horses towards the beginning of the trail.
This park is beautiful - some parts are a little under maintained.
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.
This is my quest to find my place beneath the stars - outside the confines of my office and without the pressures of everyday life.