Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lake Bemidji State Park: July 17th, 2015

We skipped the month of June this year and took the second of our big hiking weekends in the heat of July.  We were a bit concerned - would it be intolerably hot?  Confoundingly buggy? Miserably humid?  We were only going to get up to the Northwest corner of the state once this year, so even if we were burned by the sun, eaten by bugs and swept away by a flash flood, we had to hit a number of State Parks.  So we'd better get to it.  This is the first of SIX Hiking Club posts about our mid-July trip.  Buckle up!

Lake Bemidji State Park is right on the edge of Lake Bemidji, and (surprise...) right outside of the city of Bemidji.  Being so close to the city, we thought that it would be another "local park" complete with concession stands and crowds of people.

Nope!  We were wrong.

Welcome to the well-signed Hiking Club Trail

The Hiking Club Trail at Lake Bemidji State Park is the Bog Walk.  "Hmm," we thought.  Our next stop was Big Bog State Recreation Area - we didn't realize we'd be doing a bog walk here, too.  We hoped that one wouldn't steal the other one's thunder.  Luckily, they did not.  Bemidji State Park's bog was smaller, and the boardwalk was closer to the water level of the bog, making it easier to see the plants and flowers.  Big Bog State Recreation Area was also neat, but in a different way.  You'll read about that next week.

Walking down the bog catwalk.

Unfortunately, we arrived at a bad time for wildflower viewing.  The spring flowers had pretty much died off: we saw some sad, dilapidated Ladyslippers and not much else.  We did get a kick out of the Pitcher Plants.  They're carnivorous plants that attract insects into their water-filled leaves, and then keep the poor insects in there until they drown and they are processed for nutrients.  Yum.

Pitcher plant flowers

The deadly part: the pitchers, filled with water and doomed insects

It was crazy humid in the bog.  It wasn't all that humid outside of it, but once we stepped in it felt like the temperature plummeted and the humidity soared.  It was a very strange feeling.  According to an interpretive sign, we would have been downright chilled if we'd fallen into the bog:

We really enjoyed our little visit to Lake Bemidji State Park.  There were plenty of families around, and there was even a Nice Ride Bike Rental!  This is a great perk - especially since we were just a mile or so from the Paul Bunyan State Trail, which is the longest continuously paved Rail Trail in the country at 115 miles.

The lake at the end of the boardwalk

There is a lovely little lake (Big Bog Lake, natch) at the end of the Boardwalk.  We enjoyed watching the turtles and minnows swim around.  The lake was practically stagnant: the bogs are slow moving, you can't really see the water moving unless something is moving through it.  The trail is an out-and-back, so after enjoying the lake we headed on back.

Total miles hiked today: 2
Total miles hiked in 2015: 15.3
Total ticks today: Joe - 0; Elly - 1; Thunderdog - 0
Total ticks in 2015: 9

Countdown to All Miles: 28.4 to go


  1. Elly, would you mind sharing your email with me again? You did a little while ago, but I neglected to write it down. Dumb me. I want to invite you and Joe to our Pie-Off in September. Feel free to email me at aaron.l.olson@gmail.com if you'd rather not put it here.