Hiking Club Trail #23
Date: June 16, 2018
Location: Preston, MN
Length: 2.0 Miles
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate (there are some pretty large hills to climb - the trail is easy if you don't mind hills)
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 65.1 of 197
Just to annoy all of the people of the state with office jobs Mother Nature is toying with us - beautiful weather on the weekdays, rain all weekend. Not cool!!!
My plan for this weekend was originally Jay Cooke... Rain and flooding up that way. Minnesota Valley... more rain. On a whim I checked the weather for southern MN - HOT but no rain so on a whim we packed up and headed to Forestville/Mystery Cave.
We get there and the Park seems busy - lots of horse trailers and the campground looks full - looks like everyone got the memo that the weather was good down here. To get to the hiking club trail the info says park at the amphitheater - (FYI - there are no bathrooms anywhere along this trail, nor were there any at the park office - in fact for the section of the park that I spent time in I didn't see a single bathroom of any kind - also there is only one bench along this trail and it was closer to the end). We parked the car and as I was checking my pack I was approached by an older man who wanted to pet Penny we got into a conversation and somewhere in all of this on a 90 degree high humidity day I forgot to grab extra water out of the cooler - not the smartest day for me to make that mistake - thank goodness the trail was fairly short and the water that we did have along lasted.
This trail runs through pretty thick woods the entire time - I am sure it is extra beautiful in the fall as the entire canopy looked to be maple trees. Early in the hike we met a kid who had just found the tiniest snapping turtle I had ever seen and was kind enough to ask us if we wanted to see it (I should have snapped a picture). As we got deeper into the woods it looked like this park had recently experienced some flooding a lot of the ground cover was matted to the ground in mud - all pushed in one direction. And the stream that runs through the park was raging pretty good.
Also we seemed to find ourselves in the middle of some kind of horse race along the Hiking Club Trail. Normally I check events in the park but again this was a whim... we were passed by a lot of horses and one guy told us they were doing 50 miles for breast cancer - only problem was a lot of our way finding signage was covered by their signs.
In the end this Park had more elevation than I was expecting (which I like) and it was pretty hot. I will definitely be coming back - this park has a lot more to offer than we saw!