Trail Pairings: A Visit to Thief River Falls
If you’ve been to Thief River Falls, you likely noticed the Norwegian-style trolls. There’s 18 of these chainsaw-carved statues around town; they’re large and small, cute and homely and have names like Gustav, Snorre and Haakon. That’s not a surprise in a town where, according to Wikipedia, 50% of the residents identify themselves as Norwegian-American. It’s also no surprise that snowmobiling is a big deal in this town, because Arctic Cat, one of the world’s top snowmobile brands, was born here in the 1960s. To see what else is waiting for the outdoor enthusiast, we spent a weekend in northwestern Minnesota, where, as they say, two rivers meet.
Before our trip we had arranged to rent kayaks at Wild Side Kayak Tours and explore the river system in Thief River Falls. Owner Christina was very helpful and suggested several areas we should visit. Unfortunately, we had to change our plans. Recent rains had left both rivers swollen and running high and fast and Sunday, the day we had set aside for kayaking was very windy. We decided to play it safe and stay off the water.
We were bummed to not be able to go paddling in a town with two rivers and the kayak launches would have made it even easier to enter and exit the water. Instead, we opted to go for walks at the Greenwood and Northland College Trails, just before we headed home. Luckily, those natural trails had dried enough for foot traffic and made for a wonderful walk through the woods. We’ll have to ride the mountain bike trails at our next visit.