Friday, April 24, 2009

Ah, Spring.

A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away... .

OK, here in Minnesota about 20 years ago, I used to take off work on my birthday, April 1st, to go to Taylor's Falls for a hike. I haven't been able to do that since then because it's always been way too cold and icky. Winter has moved at least one month into spring. Actually, I think all our months, weather-wise, have moved one month later.

So yesterday, when the weather was predicted to be in the 80s, and since I'm being forced to not work (no pay--they call it a furlough and say it's better than being laid off), I drove to Taylor's Falls. Actually, I went to the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River to Interstate Park.

These might be anenomies.
I gave my flower books to Ben and Steph so I can't look them up.
The white ones look like wild strawberries.

Ah, I love the natural pine smell of the forest floor in the warmth of the day.

These are the ones that look more like strawberries.

Lake O' the Dalles Trail on the SE side.

A view of the river.

A pothole.

I first walked up the Ravine Trail. The map says it's only .5 miles long. For someone who hasn't been hiking lately, and who is just a little over weight, I thought I was going to die from a heart attack. When I saw the 260 feet rise notation on the map, I felt better about myself.

From the top of the Ravine Trail, I turned south west on the Skyline Trail. (I'd wanted to walk the Meadow Valley Trail but it's under water. Actually, the picnic tables just north of the parking lot were in an inch or so of marshy water. And I forgot my hip waders.) Anyway the Skyline Trail is about 1.6 miles and mostly down a very gentle slope. The only green things visible are the flowers I photographed.

Digital photography has given me the option of taking enough shots to be sure to get one or two good ones. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get the camera to focus on what I want to take a picture of when it's in macro mode.

Skyline Trail ended in the Pines Group Camp area. After an outhouse stop (I know, TMI), I hiked a trail that parallels the Eagle Peak Trail but instead of going up it goes down further to the South Campground. I came out on the south end of the campground. Turning back north east, I hiked to the Camp Interstate Shelter where I had my lunch.

From there I headed to the Lake O' the Dalles Trail and walked the south eastern side of the lake. After my afternoon snack and general laziness reading my book, I drove up to the Pothole Trail to do some more relaxing. I thought about knitting but couldn't bring myself to do more than one round.

Around 3:30 p.m. I drove into Taylor's Falls and had some chocolate almond fudge ice cream with a cone.

On the way home, I thought I'd stop at the little bar/restaurant in Marine on St. Croix. Unfortunately, it is closed with a For Sale sign on the door. Too bad. It was a great place to stop, especially when riding the Gold Wing, for a brew and a burger.

One thing nice about this time of year is there are few bugs. There were some black flies when I first started out but they disappeared along the Skyline Trail and never returned. No mosquitoes. Also, no kids and no dogs. I think I only saw about 5 cars.

Being a loaner I like that sort of hike. In my humble opinion, there are too many people in the world and most of them are next to me most of the time. No offense intended. That's just the way I am.


MrSafetyToo said...

What a lovely day you captured!

anncrafts said...

That sure looks like fun! I should do something similar someday too. I could use the exercise!