Monday, July 15, 2013

Moose Lake State Park: July 14th, 2013

Moose Lake State Park is one of those that is centrally located yet ridiculously inconvenient.  It is almost exactly halfway between Joe's place in St. Cloud and my place on the North Shore - about 80 miles in either direction.  The only way we could logically accomplish the Hiking Club Trail at Moose Lake (and Banning and St. Croix) is to either meet there, or drive from a weekend together and, after hiking, go our separate ways.  We did the latter on Sunday.

Oh, it wasn't so bad.  We listened to the Twins beat up on the Yankees as we drove (yay) and we stopped for lunch at the Lazy Moose*.  The Hiking Club trail was only 2 miles long, but there was an Agate Museum on site for us to check out as well.

The trail was buggy from the get-go.  We were prepared for that inevitability - bug spray (ugh) and walking quickly kept us mostly comfortable.  Moose Lake State Park isn't a very large park, and it's right off the highway.  I found plenty to like about it, though.  Although we were well south of Duluth, it FELT like a northwoods park.  Pines and deciduous trees mingling together, wildflowers that I know from home mixing with those of the prairies of St. Cloud.  There were lots of dragonflies zipping about.  It was downright pleasant.  Except for the bugs, of course.

Welcome to the pines

The Hiking Club trail is easy to find from the ranger station/agate museum.  Once we crossed the road (right over the road off the interstate), we found ourselves on a mowed path that lead us by a small lake.  We'd heard about the beavers in the lake, and gazed at their lodge in the middle of it.  Apparently there's even an albino beaver in the park. Alas, we didn't see anything that large: just lots of bugs.  

The trail slowly deteriorated as we walked along.  The grass was golf course-short at the beginning, but by the end we were wading through knee-deep weeds.  A far cry from Lake Carlos, where the dedicated park staff mowed even in the middle of the afternoon!  Can't complain, though.  I've walked through taller weeds and muckier muck than what we saw there.  

A meadowy path

I keep meaning to do a "macro post" in which I show off pictures of my favorite wildflowers and wildlife.  I'm not sure if I'll ever get around to a proper "macro post", so here are some pics I took at Moose Lake.  The dragonflies and butterflies were plentiful, and the ground was a carpet of wildflowers. 

Orange Hawkweed, my favorite wildflower
Oxeye Daisy, my other favorite wildflower

Blue Dasher 

Northern Crescent

After the hike, we stopped in the Agate Center.  It's on the small side, but there were some pretty neat exhibits.  I think agates are beautiful and I'm proud that Lake Superior Agates are Minnesota's state gemstone.  Actually, I'm down with all of the Minnesota State Symbols (except maybe the state drink: Milk).  I even like the state photograph, Grace.  When my sister was little, she didn't understand that the man was praying - she thought that he had a headache.  I can understand that.

Grace:  Get me some Advil

Anyway!  Moose Lake: nice little park, a southerly jaunt into the Northwoods.  Buggy.  Would be a great place to stop on the way Up North (or the way Down South) as it is right off of 35.

* The Wild Rice burger at the Lazy Moose has beef in it!  As a sometimes vegetarian, I usually do a quick scan of menus to see what options I have for eating veggie.  "Wild Rice Burger" is Minnesota Code for "vegetarian option"...but apparently not at the Lazy Moose.  Look out!  Sweet Potato Fries were good, though.

Total miles hiked today: 2.0
Total miles hiked in 2013: 63.3
Total Superior Hiking Trail miles hiked in 2013: 12.9
Total ticks today: 1
Total ticks in 2013: 54

1 comment:

  1. Impressive dragon fly photo! Those suckers are so fast.