Last night a thunderstorm went through. While there was a good amount of lightning and thunder, we didn't get much rain. The sky was dark and gray though when I got out of the tent so I quickly ate breakfast and packed everything up to try and beat the rain. As I hit the road it looked lie rain was imminent. I started to wonder if it was a good idea to try and do some more hiking. Eventually I convinced myself that a hike in the rain, should it happen, would be a pleasant and welcome experience, and so I headed south again to Glendalough State Park.
The Hiking Club Trail at Glendalough makes a 3.3 mile loop around Annie Battle Lake.
It was a pleasant hike, but to be honest I felt a bit bored by it. It just felt like the hikes this weekend were all too similar; a hike through deciduous woods and grassy areas, with a few lakes sprinkled in here and there. The gray sky and a stiff breeze blowing across the lake probably didn't lift my spirits that much either. The hike around Annie Battle lake did offer some pleasant woods to walk through and even a few wildflowers to look at.
From Glandalough State Park I headed east to Inspiration Peak State Wayside. Inspiration Peak is a 400 foot tall glacial feature and the tallest natural point around for miles.
Author Sinclair Lewis praised "the enchanting peace and seclusion of this place for contemplation" and there is a nice view from the top.
After descending Inspiration Peak I headed south again to Lake Carlos State Park. The trail here stayed mostly in the woods.
I saw some interesting fungi growing on a tree trunk
and saw a few wildflowers like this bladderwort.
Then it was the long drive back to Duluth.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Yesterday after work, I paced up a few things, ate some dinner and than hit the road headed for west-central Minnesota to log some Hiking Club miles. Noelle had left earlier in the day to go to her parents' house for the weekend, so I would be making the trip solo. The start of my trip, I must admit, didn't go quite as planned. Outside of Walker, Minnesota a deer ran into the side of my car.While the deer didn't do any damage, it scared the heck out of me. Then when I arrived at Buffalo River State Park, where I had planned on camping for the night, I learned that the campground was full. To make matters worse, when I consulted my trusty DeLorme Minnesota Atlas and Gazetteer I discovered that the campground at Buffalo River is the only one, public or commercial, around for miles. Sadly, I headed into Moorehead to find a hotel for the night.
After a descent night of sleep in Moorehead, I headed back to Buffalo River State park to do some hiking. The hike started out with a pleasant walk along the park's namesake river.
Eventually I found myself at the MSU Regional Science Center where there is an interesting sculpture of the local prairie grasses.
From the sculpture, I headed into the woods, made a loop and then headed into the prairie. It was nice to back in the prairie for the first time in a long while.
I enjoyed walking through the grasses. Unfortunately, there weren't many flowers in bloom, but with a warm sun and blue sky replacing the clouds I didn't mind the lack of blossoms too much.
From Buffalo River State Park I headed south to Maplewood State Park. The first thing that I did was get a campsite for the night. Then I hit the trail.
Maplewood State Park is interesting in that it contains many different ecosystems. There is the prairie, the deciduous forest, and the lakes. I started off by heading into the woods, passing a tree decorated with red balls
and then paralleled the shoreline of Cataract Lake.
I then headed back into the woods before passing another lake, this time Grass Lake.
Like at Buffalo River, there were not many wildflowers in bloom, I guess it's just not the right time of the year. I did see some spiderwort
and some other yellow composites that I could not identify.
After passing Beers Lake (nice name by the way) things got a bit interesting. The trail got wet, and not just a small puddle, really wet. I tried to find a way around the wet spot, but was unsuccessful and so I took off my shoes and waded into the water.
It was deeper than I had expected coming up past my knees. It made for the most hard core of my Hiking Club walks yet! It also happens to be the hike to take me over the 100 mile mark for the Hiking Club.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
It was yet another weekend of bad weather in "the Northland" this weekend. Cold, rain and fog meant for less-than-optimal outdoor adventure conditions. We decided to stay close to home instead of hitting the road. Yesterday there was enough of a break in the rain that we were able to do some "urban hiking" around Duluth. We walked down to Superior Street to watch Grandma's Marathon,
and ate lunch at Sammy's Pizza before heading home.
and ate lunch at Sammy's Pizza before heading home.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Originally I had planned on heading over to Perrot State Park to explore the canoe trail there. Noelle and Mom didn't seem to be into the canoe idea and so we decided instead to continue on our recent theme of art environments and visit the Wegner Grotto, and interesting art environment near the town of Cataract, Wisconsin.
Of all the offbeat, concrete art gardens that we've been to in the past few weeks, I think the Wegner Grotto is my favorite. Among the features is what the locals refer to as the Glass Church,
a small chapel of concrete adorned with broken glass.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
After checking out the awesome Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden, Noelle, Mom and I headed further north along the banks of the mighty Mississippi to the Creamery in Nelson, Wisconsin where we got some delicious garlic cheese curds and ice cream. Dairy products are wonderful energy sources for hiking. From the Creamery we crossed the Mississippi and headed into Minnesota to Through the town of Plainview to Carley State Park.
Carley is a small state park, but we had an interesting hike along the Whitewater River.
Unfortunately the bluebells which the park is known for were no longer in bloom, but we enjoyed our hike nonetheless.
From Carley State Park we headed back towards the river and headed towards Winona, Minnesota. We stopped at the small and unusual John Latsch State Park. I saw this park is unusual because there is nothing in it except for a solitary trail. This trail is a great one though. It ascends over 600 stairs
to the top of the bluff and some great views of the river.
We spent a few minutes up there before descending back to the car.
Last night after work Noelle, Parker and I headed down to Mom and Dad T's in Galesville. This morning Mom, Noelle and myself headed out for some adventure. Our first stop took us up Highway 35 north of Fountain City to the Prairie Moon Scuplture Garden. We learned about this place through a brochuere we found at the Concrete Park a few weeks ago. Like the Wisconsin Concrete County Park, Prairie Moon features lots of concrete statues. There is also an impressive concrete fence that runs for 260 feet along the boundary of the garden.
The sculpture park is the work of the late Herman Rusch, who was a farmer, played the fiddle for local dances and created some interesting art.
Here are some photographs of some of our favorite sculptures: