Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lindbergh State Park: July 22, 2012

A weekend without a State Park visit?  Perish the thought!  On Sunday, July 22nd, Joe and I left St. Cloud and headed about 45 minutes north to Charles A. Lindbergh State Park, just outside of Little Falls.  Even though it's close to St. Cloud, I'd only ever been there once or twice.  It's a small park, only 576 acres.  The Charles Lindbergh boyhood home is nearby, but not actually on park grounds (they're right next door, on Minnesota Historical Society property).  The park did not make a huge impression on me before - and after visiting it with Joe, I wondered why.  It was great!!

For starters, there were a bunch of Works Projects Administration buildings.  I am still just amazed at the quality of the stonework.  The water tower was pretty cool - CCC-style stonework at the bottom, perfectly tidy logwork at the top.  The water tower provided all of the water for the park through the 1960's.

Blown out picture of the water tower - love the stonework!

There was a picnic area that I imagine is quite popular with Little Falls townsfolk.  There was also an absolutely enormous stump.  "Who would cut down such a huge white pine!?" I thought.  It turns out it was struck by lightning in the 1980's.  The trunk and stump are still on the grounds, and made for a nice picture location for Thunderdog and Joe.

Lookit my stump!

The Hiking Club trail is 2.8 miles long.  It covers the entire western side of the park (warning! pdf!).  We started out in the woods, and then the canopy opened up and we found ourselves on a prairie.  The woods were cool and comfortable (very nice on a hot July day), the path was wide and grassy, and it was just downright pleasant.  Although we enjoyed the woods, it was REALLY great when we found ourselves on the prairie part of the trail.

Glorious Day

It's hard to put into words.  Something about being in a prairie edged by towering pines really appealed to me.  Perhaps it was a combination of smells - pine and ragweed? - or perhaps it was the dichotomy of cool pine forest and warm sunny prairie?  Whatever it was, I could not get enough of it.  I would have happily plopped a cabin down at the edge of the field.  Charles A. Lindbergh was a lucky guy.

Joe mentioned reading that, when the park was established, it was donated farmland.  The DNR (and WPA/CCC?) actually planted the forest that exists today.  How strange, to buy farmland and plant a forest.  Well, it turned out wonderfully.

We took the short spur path out to where Lindbergh crashed a plane.  The plane, a "Jenny" (not the name of the plane, like I'd always thought; but the type of plane) was sold to some fellow in Iowa and stored in a pig farm until the 1970's.  It is now in the Cradle of Aviation Museum.  The field was pretty, but not very interesting.  We were more interested in the amazing white pine that grew right next to the field.

Scandalous tree upskirt!

You may think that we're done with Lindbergh, now that we've done the Hiking Club Trail in this small park. You could not be more wrong!  We noted that the paths would be great for snowshoeing and skiing (mostly snowshoeing...I've probably forgotten how to XC Ski).  So we'll be back out once the winter rolls around.

Total miles hiked today: 2.8
Total miles hiked (in 2012): 88.7

Total ticks today: Joe - 0; Thunderdog - n/a; Elly - 1
Total ticks (in 2012): 48


  1. Mark and I camped at that park for two nights last summer during our yearly week-long camping excursion. It rained almost the whole time, so we spent a lot of time in the picnic shelter learning how to play cribbage! Good memories.

    1. Joe and I have taught ourselves to play cribbage, and it has quickly become one of our favorite games. Next time we're together (Aints weekend?) we should play...I know there is a way to play pairs, but I don't know how. Do you?