A Whole New Perspective
Charles A. Lindbergh State Park is one of the quieter places in the Minnesota state parks system, but it makes for a nice getaway on a sunny day. Last weekend, with plenty of sun and temps nearing 35 degrees we set out for a walk on the hiking trails, but we found an alternative route that offers views you can only get in the winter.
Pike Creek, named not after the fish, but explorer Zebulon Pike, runs right through the middle of the park on its way to the Mississippi River. It was frozen solid, so we got on it and hiked the park from the boat landing in the south to the campground area in the north. Someone had already been on there with a fatbike, so we just followed their tracks. It was a new experience that showed us a whole new side of this rustic central Minnesota park. It was quiet and when we stood still and listened, we could sometimes hear water gurgling under the ice. Near the edge of the creek some unknown animal had almost completely chewed off the bark on a tree. We’ll have to check with the Distracted Naturalist to find out what it was. It was also interesting to see how around the next bend, the snow conditions could become totally different and vary from hard packed to crusty and deep. We even met a group of hikers coming the other way.
The Avenza map app helped us track our progress. It uses pdf maps of Minnesota state parks and shows your location as you move along. You can even track your path and upload photos and it works without internet connection together with your phone’s GPS (more on GeoPDFs here). It took us about an hour to walk the 1.4 miles on the creek, but we weren’t in a hurry and soaked up as much sunshine as we could. There’s nothing like a walk in the woods on a sunny day to recharge your batteries.
As always, river ice is never 100% safe, so use your best judgment before heading out on any frozen body of water.