Thursday, September 5, 2013

Glacial Lakes State Park: August 31st, 2013

After our short trip to Monson Lake State Park, Joe and I headed off in the direction of Glacial Lakes State Park for a longer hike.  We wound up getting lost on the drive there, which lead to us starting the hike quite late for this time of year - 7pm.  I only had a tiny flashlight.  Could we cover 4.7 miles before the sunset at 8:30?  I guess there was only one way to find out...

Welcome to the prairie

Glacial Lakes is one of my favorite state parks.  It is a hilly prairie, cut from receding glaciers over 10,000 years ago.  Small, clear blue lakes dot the prairie.  The path is mostly mowed, and it goes up and over several grassy hills.  You can see long distances on clear days.  The sky is enormous: when I first visited many years ago, I thought that it would be the perfect place to stargaze.  I stopped at the Ranger Station on the way out of the park and immediately put down a deposit on one of the backpack campsites for the following year's Pleiades Meteor Shower weekend.  Alas, it didn't work out so that I could go - that was the weekend I wound up moving to the North Shore.

Walk the path of the shadow

We hustled right along as the shadows deepened over the prairie.  Thunderdog enjoyed the brisk walk, but Joe kept falling behind so that he could take pictures.  He kept having to jog to catch up with us.  Thunderdog was very concerned when he was out of sight...she kept wanting to wait for him.

Shadowy man on a shadowy prairie

Now, I'm a Forest Girl...but there's a part of me that loves the Minnesota prairie.  Only about 1/10th of 1 percent of the original prairie in Minnesota remains.  Glacial Lakes is one of the few places where you can venture into the prairie as it was back before logging, farming, and the suburbs took over.  I love Glacial Lakes for that look into my beloved state's past: is this what the Dakota Sioux saw on warm summer evenings?  Is this what it looked like when Laura Ingalls walked beside her family's wagon as they headed west?

Blue lakes dot the waving grass

I would go back to Glacial Lakes in a heartbeat.  It is one of the favorite parks we have visited in the last few years - right up there with Temperance and Franz Jevne.  I still want to reserve a backpacking campsite in order to watch a meteor shower - I even have the perfect site all picked out.  I just need to plan ahead. 

I suppose it's about that time.

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler.  This might well be the last hike of the summer: the next few weeks are busy, and we've just about covered all of the "quick hit" parks that we can visit in an afternoon.  Soon it'll be time for leaf-peeping again.  We really covered the North Shore last year, so we'll probably hit other parts of the state for leaves this year.  Stay tuned to see what we can peep!

Oh, and did we make it out of the park before the sun set??

Komorebi: Japanese for "sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees"

We walked the last half-mile or so through a forested area in the dark, but we survived.  Joe managed to take many pictures (I did too) and we really enjoyed the hike.  Sunset is a great time to view this park: the shadows, the waving grasses, the sunset!!!  Glacial Lakes, we will be back.

Total miles hiked today: 4.7
Total miles hiked in 2013: 86.8
Total Superior Hiking Trail miles hiked in 2013: 19.7
Total ticks today: 0
Total ticks in 2013: 54

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