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Hiking - In Minnesota - We Are Beautiful
Hiking is what I called playing in the woods when I was a kid. I made my own trails. I had trails to the down river, trails up river. I lived in Grand Marais, on the Gunflint Trail, along the Devil's Track River.
I was in 3rd grade when we moved there, and was allowed free range in my wandering. Mom would say, "go play outside' and I obeyed. I had to break through underbrush, deal with thorns and branches that were sharp.
What I Remember
As I recall, in the three years I walked around our property, we had things, wild creatures walking in the woods with me.
Hunters, too. Certain times of the year, I was required to wear red sweatshirts. We had bears with cubs in the woods. Mom would say, if you see a bear - come home. There were warnings of moose wandering around.
There were birds, but other than the fact that my mother had bird feeders, and we learned the various calls of the birds, I didn't watch them.
Eagle Mountain Has a Trail
I can personally verify that Eagle Mountain has a trail, because when I was 16, I worked for the YCC, or Youth Conservation Corps from Isabella, Minnesota and we personally dragged wheelbarrows, shovels and whatnot, up Eagle Mountain and dug up dirt and made trails.
If I look in my photos, from 1978, I probably have a picture of one us, sitting on the edge of a cliff. There are trees tops below his feet and the expanse of green is exhilarating to see, plus we were afraid he'd jump off just for attention.
If you are looking for a trail that has a river that is bubbling, I guess Gooseberry Falls would be very satisfying. We have a lot of waterfalls in the state. We have a lot of rivers, with a lot of variances in feet above sea level and there is water dripping down faces of rock in a lot of places.
Even my river in Grand Marais had a waterfall somewhere. Maybe even multiple waterfalls. For that matter, we had a creek running through our yard that had a couple three foot drops in it.
In Southern Minnesota, where I live now, I personally know of a couple waterfalls. There is Minneopa Falls in Mankato. There is Minnehaha Falls in the Minneapolis area.
There is a hiking trail on Highway 60 by Faribault. There is a hiking trail on Highway 90. I personally have never walked on them, but you can see them as you drive your car though. There is a hiking trail around Clear Lake in Waseca.
Minnesota is picturesque. I don't know how gregarious hikers are. Do people hike in the winter? When I was a kid, we had a neighbor who had snowshoes. Snowshoes were big, floppy flat basket like objects that you strapped onto the bottom of your feet and you were then able to walk across deep snow without sinking to your knees.
I think the danger of getting lost depends on how good your batteries are in your equipment that you are using to find your way.
Back when we bought our first GPS, the Magellen, you were at the mercy of the two double AA batteries that were in it. If your batteries went dead and you put in new, you'd lose what was stored in your memory, and you'd be in a world of hurt.
Trees start to look alike when you are walking through them.
I do not own a smart phone, with GPS, but I don't know if I'd want to rely on that either, since you run the possibility of having no service when in the dips in the woods.
Our family owns a cabin on 80 acres in Northern Minnesota in the Floodwood area. Our kids are grown up now and have children of their own, but when they were small, it was a fairly frequent occasion to go to the cabin and let the kids tear around on four wheelers.
We had trails going in a large loop from one end of the property to the other. The kids would 'play in the woods' on the four wheelers on this trail, and they'd tear it up really nice. They were doing double duty, since this property was used in the fall for the deer hunters in the family and this ruckus on the trails by the motorcycles would then clear the trails for walking for deer.
It was all very convenient.
Oh, yes, exploring the woods. When you are walking around in the woods, for the first time, it's a good idea to pay attention to where you are going. Maybe break a branch or two off so you mark where you've come from.
Deer make trails because they seem to walk the same path every day. Their hooves smash the grass flat and the dirt in that spot becomes hard and compacted.
When I was a kid, I did a lot of hiking, but it wasn't for viewing, it was for walking around, getting from one place to another. There were trails to the neighbors house. There was what we called the woods. The woods are exactly that. Lots of trees that have grown together in a totally, unorganized fashion.
When you walk through the woods, generally you'd take the same route each time because you'd already broken the branches and scuffed up a trail. Modern day hikers have trails that are made of blacktop.
I don't know if I'd like walking around on blacktop. Minnesota can be hot in the summer and blacktop gets warm to walk on. The hiking boots are hot to wear and your feet will get really warm, maybe even a few blisters.
Places I Have Lived
St. Peter has a cabin and trails on the north end of town. Traverse des Sioux Cabin. When I was a kid, in the mid seventies, this was an interesting place to go with our bikes. We'd park our bikes and walk around and pretend to be someone else.
The river, in downtown St. Peter, has a walking park and there is a backwaters to go look at.
Minneopa State Park has trails along the river, but be cautious. I have heard that the holes in the cliffs are rattlesnake dens. I have never personally seen a rattlesnake there, but I did see a small rattlesnake under a bridge in St. Peter when I was a kid.
Seppmann Mill, across highway 68 from Minneopa Park has trails. The Judson Bottom road is a ten mile expanse of scenic trees and river bottom that you can see from Seppmann Mill.
Lake Superior Shore
When I lived in Lutsen, we lived across the road from Lake Superior and I enjoyed playing on the rocks along Lake Superior.
There are a lot of spots along the lake that are suitable for hiking. There is Split Rock Lighthouse, Canal Park, Leif Erickson Park.
I went to Jay Cooke Park with my daughter and we got out of the car and walked over to the water and looked at the water rushing past. The river is immense and noisy.
Does that count as hiking?
I personally like the looks of Winona, with the mountainy looking hills, Lanesboro is hilly. Stillwater is interesting. There is a lot of scenery. Lots of color and green. Old buildings.
The area along the Mississippi from Red Wing to Wabasha is interesting.
Bowstring Lake in Deer River area, has a campground that we have been to. You walk from the campsite to the lake. The lake is long and there are loons on it.