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LENGTH 2.5 miles
DIFFICULTY Easy, a few rolling hills
DATE February 12, 2017
MAIN FEATURES Ice, ice baby. Biking and paddling in the Summer.
Sakatah State Park is an 842 acre wilderness area on the shore of Sakatah Lake. The Hiking Club trail and other trails in the park are fairly short, but you will have access to 39 miles of hiking, biking and snowmobiling on the Singing Hills trail. It looks like a great set up for family campers and bike campers. There is one dedicated bike touring camp, 62 semi-modern campsites and their group camp holds 50 people. They have camper cabins too, but no backpacking sites.
After a busy morning making hundreds of pancakes for Scout Sunday, I called my hiking buddy after lunch and proposed a hike! She always says yes (THANK GOODNESS!) and in about 30 minutes, we were both ready and heading south. We are both hiking all of the Hiking Club Trails and this would be the last park that was only about an hour away.
As we drove out of our meeting spot in Burnsville, we spotted a guy walking on the road that I had seen coming in. He had a red backpack, a hiking stick was walking on the sidewalk and had a big fan shaped shell on his pack. My hiking buddy said “hey, maybe we should pick him up and take him with us”. No, Mom, we didn’t pick him up…but at that moment, I recognized the shell as the Pilgrim’s Shell for the Camino de Santiago. My mind went daydreaming of a day that I would maybe wear that shell on my pack…and hopefully be joining the Pilgrims, hiking in Spain. Ah…so many trails, so little time.
We arrived at the Sakatah visitor center at about 3pm, talked to the ranger for a little bit, slid straight down the hill in the car and got out on what looked like an ice rink. This was the iciest hike we’ve ever attempted and we weren’t sure if we should have brought Snowshoes, Yak Tracks, Ice Skates or a blow torch! The road and parking lot ended up being the worst of it, the trail was a nice snow pack and we ended up having nothing to worry about. Whew. This was the first hike my new HOKA ONE ONE hiking boots, I am happy to say that I’ve put about 10 miles on them since then. They seem to be working great as I recover from the dumb Plantar Fasciitis and have required zero break-in time.
The trails to the campsites and lake were closed, so we didn’t venture out very much off the hiking club trail. We wandered around frozen swamps, crunchy creeks, looked for a non-existent Geocache, and heard the birds returning as we hiked. Overall the park felt more like a smaller city park, crossed the road 3 times and wasn’t very challenging, but it was a great day to be outside! We did see a fluffy orange fox standing on a frozen pond as we left that caused us to whip a U-Turn on the road to get another look.
All in all, it was a sweet winter micro-adventure, my 28th Hiking Club Trail and we were still home by dinner. Win!