Friday, October 11, 2013

Buffalo River State Park: September 30th, 2013

The last leg of our North Dakota Badlands trip was to stop at Buffalo River State Park.  With its 2.5 mile Hiking Club Trail, it was a nice place to stretch our legs.  And to take a little swim.

Great technique, but I don't seem to be making any headway

At first glance - of the sand bottom pool and the concession stand - it looked like Buffalo River was the Flandreau of the North.  Pools and refreshments...not exactly a wilderness park.  There were no screaming kids around, so that was an improvement.  I was worried that this park would be kind of meh.  Nice WPA buildings, though.

Under the tree

It turns out I didn't have any need to be concerned.  Once we got away from the picnic/pool area, it was a perfectly pleasant prairie hike.  Wide mowed trail, big sky, grasses and trees glowing red and gold.  We didn't time Maplewood State Park perfectly, but it looks like Buffalo River was at peak color right when we were out there.

Glassy bend in the river

 It was clearly full-on autumn, but there was one hanger-on from the summer: mosquitoes!  Joe got eaten alive by mosquitoes getting what may have been their final snack of the year (and their lives).  I was covered by long pants and a long sleeved shirt, so I wasn't on the menu.  We wondered how buggy the park was the rest of the year!

Joe swats some mosquitoes in the sumac grove

Check out the amazing color of the prairie.  Leaves get a lot of the glory, but the prairie grasses also turn color in the fall, and they can be pretty incredible.  I know most people head out to wooded hills and valleys for leaf-peeping this time of year, but don't discount what you can see in our prairie parks.

waves of grass, waves in the clouds

And with this hike, I think we're going to bring the summer to an end.  The Hiking Club Trail lead us through the campground, which was completely abandoned.  It was September 30th: kids were back in school, snowbirds were getting ready to head south, and it's about time for us to pack up the shorts and t-shirts and dust off our snowshoes.

Camp Gonesouthforwinter

Posts might be few and far between over the next month or so: I'm not a huge fan of "see-through season", which is a kind of cutesy way of saying "the leaves fell off the trees and are rotting on the ground, it's cold and windy but there's no snow yet season".  We will probably work on other projects until snow flies.  Until we see you again, thanks for hiking with us this summer!  See you in snowshoes.

Total miles hiked today (this hike): 2.5
Total miles hiked in 2013: 116.5
Total Superior Hiking Trail miles hiked in 2013: 19.7
Total ticks today: 0
Total ticks in 2013: 54


  1. Buffalo River can be super buggy in the summer. Maybe four years ago, we stayed there one hot night before I had a race in Detroit Lakes. It was too hot to stay in the tent, and too buggy to sit outside. So we went into Fargo to sit at a bar and watch the Twins game. I know I went there as a child, but I don't have many recollections of that time.

    1. Ha! Yeah, I can believe that it's super buggy. We have a list of parks that we have heard are mosquito heaven...we're planning to do as many as we can in the early spring and late fall. I guess it wasn't late enough for Buffalo River.