Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sibley State Park, March 18th 2012

On Sunday, March 18th, Joe and I headed out for the first State Park visit of the Spring. was CLOSE ENOUGH to spring.  The equinox was two days away, and the temperature was a delightful 65 degrees.  We drove his fancy new car to Sibley State Park, which is a 2,500 acre park in West-Central Minnesota. The closest town is New London, and it's not that far from Willmar.  I bought Joe something for his new car: a State Park Permit.  Hooray!

Sibley has a lot of deciduous trees. I took particular notice of this because, living on the North Shore, I'm used to seeing a lot more COLOR in the woods: piney greens, oranges, etc.  Sibley was pretty brown.  There were a few bright spots of color starting to peep through, though.  

Peeping plant

We hiked up and down a lot of brown and gray hills.  I enjoyed being out in the sweet spring air.  There were a couple of overlooks that I assume are impressive in the fall - Little Mt. Tom and Badger Hill, in particular.  We did the Hiking Club Trail, and I got my first Secret Password for my brand-new Hiking Club kit.  4 miles down, 21 to go before I get the first patch!

No trip to Sibley State Park is complete without a trip to Mt. Tom.  There's a big lookout tower up there.  It presented a bit of a mystery though - although it looked like a CCC structure, there was a plaque stating that the observation deck had been built somewhat recently.  What???  How can this be - a CCC structure of recent construction?  Or are just PARTS of it a recent construction?  Joe and I walked up to the deck and inspected the stonework.  It didn't appear that any additions to the original stonework were made - or they were added on seamlessly.

Mt. Tom Observation Deck

So, when I returned home, I got on my trusty computer and did a little bit of digging.  It turns out that the original structure did include only some of the stone part.  And it was...uh...let's just say it was a bit less impressive.

An old postcard, showing off a previous incarnation of the Mt. Tom Observation Deck.
It kind of reminds me of a Goomba.

There was a nice long view to all sides off of the Mt. Tom Observation Deck.  It was very windy but it was a warm wind.  It was good to get out and stretch my legs in a slowly awakening park, with my best guy Joe.  Perhaps, if we are at a loss of anything to do on a nice fall day, we'll return to see the view from the Observation Deck with the surrounding valleys in full color.

It's so brown!  Good thing that's my favorite color.
I'm going to keep track of miles hiked this year.  Now, I have been to several state parks this winter but I'm not going to count them.  We're just going to go with the spring/summer/fall visits.  And yes, I know that this wasn't technically a spring visit...shut up.  My blog.

Total miles hiked today: 4.4
Total miles hiked (in 2012): 4.4


  1. Could you tell whether the original structure was in fact a CCC construction? I'm very interested, because I've been blogging CCC stonework.


    (you have an excellent blog, btw...)

    1. Thanks! Welcome!

      If I remember correctly, the plaque on the original structure stated that it was actually a VCC project (Veterans Conservation Corps). As far as I know, the VCC was an off-shoot of the CCC. I'd never seen it before, but will keep an eye out for more.

      I love CCC stonework. There's quite a bit of it in Minnesota, we're very lucky! One of my friends lives in a Ranger cabin that is of CCC construction.

      There's also what I call Faux CCC work around can tell what's NOT CCC because, despite being newer, most of them are in shoddier condition. I'm thinking of some of the retaining walls along the Mississippi in St. Cloud. They wish they were built by the CCC, but they are only about 30 years old...crumbling, leaning, etc. There's a noticeable difference in quality.

    2. I noticed the same variable quality in some of the work at Minnehaha Falls -

      - and attributed it to novices, but in retrospect, I'm beginning to think it may have been post-CCC, because I think even the CCC newbies were supervised by true stonemasons.