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LENGTH 2 mile Hiking Club Trail
DATE Dec 28, 2018
MAIN FEATURES Wooded loop through rolling hills, views of a Wildlife Pond
You may remember my post from Moose Lake State Park last 4th of July. Back then the park was bursting with happy campers and families celebrating their 4th of July traditions a the park. I hiked alone, climbed in and out of a hole, was almost carried off by bugs and had a little bout with Hikers rash that was cured by a jump in the lake! It wasn’t a bad hike in the summer, but this park literally transformed itself in the Winter and enchanted us with it’s beauty.
The Importance of Play and Recharging
Reflecting back on this hike, I’m reminded of the value of “play” and cultivating joyful experiences. Hiking is fun (even the type 2 fun) but taking time to fully immerse yourself, be present and treasure time with a friend is a gift, and that is what this hike was to me. We felt recharged, encouraged and strong…without anything to prove.
With the recent passing of one of my favorite American Poets, I’m also reflecting on this poem and challenging myself to be more present in my outdoor activities (and everything!) in 2019.
Instructions for Living a Life
Tell about it.
April’s Trail Report
My best friend (the one that laid down some serious wisdom at the end of our Superior Hiking Trail 100 Miler) and I headed up to Moose Lake over Christmas break to find the snow since we had heard that the Northern part of the state had gotten 16″ in some areas! Since she lives in balmy Kansas City now, I asked her to contribute a little bit to this post and share her re-introduction to winter hiking and snowshoeing.
“Moose Lake was a great winter hike, the Hiking Club Trail was a perfect distance and had a great amount of hills/flatlands for snowshoeing. Also, I LOVED the snow that was gently resting on the trees, it was a picture perfect winter wonderland.
My favorite part of the day all together was of course getting to spend it with Jen but since I can’t choose that as my answer, I will say ALL THE SNOW! Since moving to KC I hadn’t seen much snow-last winter there was definitely not enough to make even a snowball. Though, since returning we had the most beautiful snow I’ve experienced. The snow stayed on the trees for a solid 4 days, just like it was at Moose Lake the day we were there, a magical winter wonderland.
The thing I enjoy most about snowshoeing is that it forces me to slow down. I can’t hike in snowshoes as fast as I can in my hiking shoes. I also get tired faster in snowshoes so I tend to stop and take more breaks in the winter, giving me the chance to stop and take more scenery and in the winter you can typically see farther since there are no leaves blocking the view. Also, in my experience the trails tend to be less travelled and much quieter in the winter-especially the parks farther from the cities.
I miss hiking with Jen-particularly because we have a good rhythm together, I know she won’t judge me when I need to stop for a water break or to catch my breath and neither of us cares how many times we stop to take pictures. I’ve gone on a few Meet Up hikes in KC, and while they are fun there is something about hiking with someone familiar-no awkward first conversations the whole hike, no worry if you’re hiking in silence for a while, no worrying about being the slowest. I also REALLY miss the [Minnesota] Hiking Club trails, for some reason searching for a password on the trail is a HUGE motivator for me and I haven’t found another ‘program’ that has motivated me.
As cheesy as this sounds I don’t think I would have changed a thing that day. I got to spend quality time with a great friend, found the password to the last park on the North Shoreline that I needed, there was snow, Tobies cinnamon rolls, lots of laughter and peacefulness on the trail.”
A great day indeed! It was my favorite winter hike of the season and he best part was getting to spend time together.
Fire, Geology and Bugs…Oh My!
I had hoped to learn more about the history of the area, specifically about the great fire of 1918 and visit the geological exhibit on my second trip the park. But the the office and exhibit were closed until April. It was closed due to the limited holiday hours when I was here last time too… The geological center features an exhibit that showcases Minnesota’s gemstone, the Lake Superior Agate with interpretive displays that focus on rocks, minerals and geology of Minnesota. Next time! The great thing about this park is that it is on the way to so many other North Shore destinations and it would be very easy to just stop in and check out as part of another trip.
We were glad to miss out on the bugs. Seriously, they were thick in July and I had to wave my umbrella around to keep them off me! April and I reminisced about the cute little springtails or “snow fleas” we found on a January hike a couple of years ago at Rice Lake State Park, but none of them here!
Hike = Play = Hike
We found our foot of snow and meandered on the most playful winter jaunt! Taking our time, we stopped a lot to just take in the the snow laden trees, clear blue sky and crisp air. We were kids again…showering ourselves in snow from the branches, making snow angels and stopping to take lots of pictures….59 to be exact! We had the whole park to ourselves, without even a ranger on staff, and only had the 2 mile Hiking Club Trail in our sights. It was a nice easy loop that would have been pretty hard to get lost on, but we always bring our 10 essentials just in case!
Other than having a great time with my favorite hiking buddy, I was struck by how different places are at different times of the year. I really enjoyed seeing Moose Lake in the Winter and would recommend a winter trip over a July visit. It’s a nice family oriented State Park, but was more of an adventure in the winter.
Your Winter Adventures
Do you hike or snowshoe in the winter months? Do you have a place that you prefer in Winter over summer? I have a winter trip and a new set of snowshoes I’m anxious to test and am always waiting for another good snowstorm. I’d love to hear your favorite spots or questions, shoot me a note in the comments below and hit subscribe if you want to stay up to date.