An Unpredictable Summer


On a crisp fall day, my 12-year-old son and I tried to find a short cut through a narrow stretch between two trails at Sibley State Park. It looked very simple on the map but turned into a two hour bushwhacking adventure. Just before dusk, we ended up where we started, wondering how that happened.

I was in big trouble with my wife who believed we could have frozen to death in the ravines and deadfall. Listening to the heated discussion my son piped up, “But Mom, that’s what going into the woods is all about. You get lost and find your way home.” 

I’ve since taught him and his brother the philosophy of Norwegian Explorer Roald Amundson who said, “Adventure is just bad planning.” While working hard to avoid ill-fated adventures, we do appreciate a healthy dose of unpredictability.

This issue of our magazine provides our readers some valuable information on how you can find the unpredictable throughout Minnesota’s parks and trails.

First Bob Aldrich tells us how to spend more time looking for the unpredictable and less time lugging heavy packs in his column.

You can meet a new friend while finding your way through our most unpredictable places with Minnesota’s Orienteering Club.

Our Home Sweet Biome section lists many of the ways you can find the unpredictable in our state parks through scuba diving, rock climbing, mountain biking, butterfly watching and just plan camping in the pristine.

Outdoor writer Jim Umhoefer takes a group urban foreign exchange students on an eye opening camping tour of Northern Minnesota’s state parks, forests and historic places to which they were all surprised at just how much there was to do here.

We offer a guide to 36 bike rides and tours where you can find such unpredictable detours as a ride on a steamboat at the Tour de Pepin.

Trails reporter Paula Wojcik was also surprised to see just how close you can get to birds and wildlife through a pair of binoculars after a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast in a bed and breakfast. She learned you really don’t have to rough it to get close to nature in Minnesota.

I’ve never seen a bike trail I didn’t like. There are a few trails that haven’t liked me. Our guide of Minnesota’s network of paved recreational trails, make planning a bike trip very easy. The trails are smooth and have a town nearly every seven miles with food, shelter, ice cream or beer.

If you could bike every major trail like we do each year, you’d be surprised at the natural diversity of this great state. From the forests of the north, the prairies out west and the hardwood bluffs in the southeast. 

Another unpredictability of bike trails is the variety of people you meet. We’re constantly stopping people for our Trails Q & A. While we never know what kind of stories we’ll hear, we always hear how much people love their trails.

When we’re not biking or hiking we like traveling Minnesota’s vast collection of water trails from the BWCA to rivers through farm country. We’ve come across moose, a bagpiper and trash – not that much, but enough to make you mad. This is why we’re running a story about Julie and Mike Anderson and their geo-trashing efforts to clean our rivers.

From the crew at Minnesota Trails, here’s hoping you have a safe and unpredictable summer.


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