I visited Joe in St. Cloud last weekend. I was feeling pretty good, so we went to a "easy" park to get back in the swing of things: Lake Maria State Park; where we did the relatively short Hiking Club Trail. It was raining lightly and (gasp!) actually kind of chilly outside. We left Thunderdog behind because she'd had a wild weekend at Doggie Daycare and was quite exhausted.
Lake Maria (Ma-rye-ah) is about halfway between St. Cloud and the Cities. It's a pretty nice little park: mostly deciduous, a handful of beautiful lakes, and fourteen miles of hiking trails that pretty much all become XC Ski trails in the winter. Additionally, there are 17 campsites at Lake Maria: all backcountry hike-in sites. I have camped at Lake Maria many times in the last decade - both when I was living in St. Cloud and when I was in the Cities for Grad School. It's definitely not the wilderness, but it's a pretty darn nice park for being so close to civilization.
|Joe finds the Hiking Club Trail.|
The Hiking Club Trail is only two miles long, and it's extremely easy. Flat and well-groomed, signs everywhere to let you know where you're going. Lake Maria is one of the few parks that I can say I know like the back of my hand. We ambled along happily, safe from the rain thanks to Joe's umbrella. I think that it would be fun to come back in the winter and do the Hiking Club Trail on skis...let's see if we get ambitious enough to do that. Neither Joe nor I have been on skis in a couple of years.
|Follow the path to the tunnel through the trees|
We didn't seem much in the way of wildlife. I figure they were all hiding in their holes and thickets, waiting out the rain. We did find a couple of daddy longlegs, lounging on the underside of a tree fungus. I am not a fan of spiders (neither is Joe), but we don't really have a problem with daddy longlegs. Perhaps it's because they don't even attempt to be sneaky, and they don't move quickly like other spiders.
|Rain, rain, go away. Little spiders want to play.|
Although we didn't want to linger too much in the rain, I did want to show Joe one interesting thing I know about Lake Maria State Park. I know where the secret campsite is located - or, more specifically, the campsite with the secret. My pants wound up soaked in the front from breaking a seldom-used trail through the weeds to get to the secret, but was glad when we got there. I mean, it's not like we found Smaug's Treasure...but secrets are cool! Especially when you can share them with friends.
So! Two miles plus, oh, lets say another mile to get to the secret campsite. We had a good time, even though I still had the pathetic little cough and it was raining. It's good to be back in the swing of things. The next month or so is going to be very exciting hiking-wise...stay tuned!
Total miles hiked today: 3
Total miles hiked (in 2012): 97.8
Total ticks today: Joe - 0; Thunderdog - n/a; Elly - 0
Total ticks (in 2012): 48