State Park Chronicles: Interstate State Park

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Well, well, well… Looks like my last state park post was a lie. I had at least one more hike in me. Maybe more, depending on the weather and how much work/school gets to me before it snows. And surprise, surprise, it’s snowing….

Anyways, I tried to go to my library a few weeks back and upon turning into the entrance road I realized that it was Big Truck Day (firetrucks and dump trucks and all that jazz all parked in the parking lot for kids to go check out, very very very popular). I had a panic attack and had to get out of the zoo that was the parking lot as quickly as I could and then I ended up just going home and changing and heading off to Interstate State Park instead. The drive was absolutely gorgeous, the weather was perfect and I’m so glad I ended up spending my whole day outside instead of at the library (though that definitely wouldn’t have been a horrible way to spend the day either).

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Interstate was originally named “The State Park of the Dalles of the St. Croix” and was a joint venture between Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was created in 1895 and then Wisconsin purchased land for their portion in 1900. I thought this was really cool! This is one of Minnesota’s most popular state parks and averages about 300,000 visitors each year.

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If you’re looking for the Hikers Club trail, it’s the River Trail which is about 1.5 miles long. It’s definitely not a bad hike, it’s got amazing views! But make sure you’ve got good shoes and watch where you walk. It’s a very rocky trail and I definitely made a few missteps that had me shaky and almost twisting my ankles. I would rate it more of an intermediate hike, definitely not crazy difficult seeing as it’s relatively short, but with the terrain it could get dicey.

And speaking of views, here are some of my many river pictures:

 

It was super busy when I went out seeing as it was a Saturday and one of the last really good weather Saturdays at that. So I definitely hiked this a lot faster than I was expecting to. Worked up a sweat from going so fast but it was great overall.

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I did find this really nice sort of “hidden” rock overlook that I sat down at to do a little journaling and eat some snacks. There were a number of these along the trail and I tried to stop at any of the ones that didn’t already have people at them!

Nature is 100% my happy place and I could’ve spent all day here if I let myself.

 

After getting to the Glacial Potholes I explored a bit (again, very busy and I always get a little anxious being around people when I’m hiking, which also I feel like I should write an entire post about being a female solo hiker because people always ask me how/why I do that?) If you’re into rock climbing this is the park for you! I didn’t take any pictures of the climbers because I didn’t want to be creepy but you can get a permit and go climbing here. If I wasn’t terrified to try climbing on natural rock I would have loved to give it a go! Maybe someday!

Instead of pictures of the rock climbers, here’s a pic of some candy I ate:

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The glacial potholes area was super cool and if I wasn’t sweaty and tired and wanting to hike back to my car I would have explored this area a bit more. I do have to go back to get a stamp for my state park passport though so I think I’ll explore this area more then! It was really interesting and I wish I would have taken more pictures. Next time!

I snagged this geologic information from the Minnesota DNR website:

About 1.1 billion years ago, earthquakes erupted from Taylors Falls to Lake Superior and caused at least 10 different lava flows. The hardened basalt rock from these lava flows partly formed the Dalles of the St. Croix and the bottom of the river. From 530 million years ago up until 70 million years ago, the state was washed by advancing and retreating seas. Evidence of these ancient seas is revealed in the sedimentary rocks and formations found in the park. These rocks contain fossil remains of ancient animals, evidence of various creatures, and ripple marks left in stone by the now vanished seas.

There have been many different St. Croix Valleys through the ages. The first formed about 70 million years ago and current valley formed about 10,000 years ago. A glacier formed both Glacial Lake Duluth, now Lake Superior, and Glacial Lake Grantsburg, now extinct. Glacial Lake Duluth was much larger than modern day Lake Superior. As this giant body of ice thawed, its meltwaters roared south to carve out the broad valley of the St. Croix. Only very resistant basalts were able to partially withstand the torrent, resulted in the dalles, potholes, and cliffs we see today.

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A Trip To The Zoo

I went to the zoo with my best friend last week for their Adult Night Out event. And since I have no other posts ready to put up today I figured I would share some of the pictures I took there!

We saw some llamas and didn’t feel like paying $7 each to get an up close picture and walk them so those were the pictures we took from a distance.

I treated myself to a mango margarita of some sort and got my best friend to try it. Managed to catch part of her reaction in the picture below. So far she’s only found one drink that she actually enjoyed. Still fun to make her try everything though.

These are some other pics I snapped of her.

Saw a lot of animals, ate some decent food. Would definitely want to go again!

It was a really good night! Weather was gorgeous! I still sweated buckets but it was totally worth it. I haven’t been able to spend a ton of time with my best friend basically since high school just because of how hectic our schedules are but we’re both in the same city for at least the summer and it’s been great to see her more often!

Have you guys done anything fun recently?

Tourism and Back Alley Stuff

Hello again!

So today we ended up with a relatively late start. It’s been nice to have the freedom to go about on our own but I think it’s also made us all move a bit slower too.

A group of us decided to go to the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.

The crowd there was intense and not exactly my favorite thing in the world. We got pretty close to the fence but were still too far away to see anything clearly. In all honesty, unless you’re going to get there early (and by early I mean early because we got there by 10:30 and it was already packed… for those who don’t know, the ceremony starts at 11) I don’t really recommend this as something to do during your trip to London.

I mean it is kind of cool to be able to say “I saw the changing of the guards” but I have to admit I didn’t really see the ceremony much at all. I had to watch most of it through the phone screens of other people. I didn’t take many pictures at all because I just wanted to enjoy the moment and I figure everyone else at the ceremony has pictures enough for the entire world.

After the changing of the guard, DyAnna and I went off to explore on our own. We decided to go to the Benjamin Franklin house which was quite cool!

Here’s a little bit about the house from the brochure we got:
“The Historical Experience uses the historic spaces where so much took place as a stage- blending live performance, leading edge sound, lighting, and visual projection- to tell the rich story of Franklin in London in his own words.”

It was a really interesting experience and since we are students we got to see it all for the discounted price of six pounds. I would highly recommend this.

After that we stumbled upon the Victoria Embankment Gardens.

They had a koi pond and ping pong tables here!

Then we finished up the day at the British Museum.

I think from my experiences today I would have to say that I would highly recommend finding more back alley experiences (like the Benjamin Franklin House). The touristy stuff is cool too, don’t get me wrong, but I think that experiencing unique things adds to trip more than crowds do. It’s fun to get out of the way and see things that no one else will.

Anyways, I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Traveling Is For Extroverts

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When I signed up for this trip to London I was all gung ho and ready to go but my enthusiasm quickly turned to gut wrenching anxiety as the weeks went by leading up to the trip. This would be my first time out of the country and my first time flying by myself. I felt completely unprepared and honestly still feel that way.

I’m originally from Woodbury, Minnesota which is a suburb of St. Paul and since I was flying out of Minneapolis I got to go home and spend a few days with my very sick siblings before leaving (to all my travelmates, they were no longer contagious by the time I got home so I hope and pray I didn’t bring any germs with me).

So on to the real nitty gritty stuff that you all want to hear about… Anxiety!

Actually I’m sure no one wants to hear about people talking about anxiety but it’s something that needs to be talked about, especially because traveling causes a LOT of anxiety.

So I’m pretty good at coping with anxiety, mostly by just pushing it aside which isn’t that great but it’s whatever. Anyways, I woke up in a panic on the 14 convinced that I had gone to London without packing any underwear. It took me ten minutes to calm myself down and reassure myself that I had indeed packed underwear and that it had in fact been the first thing that I packed.

Then I went about my normal day and ran some errands with my sister and celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom. By the time early afternoon rolled around I had nothing to distract me any further and was officially in panic mode.

This leads me to what this post is all about. Traveling is not for introverts and traveling is not for people with anxiety. Asking questions, talking to people, figuring out directions, etc. It’s not easy for me to ask questions or include myself in things or “force” myself to be extroverted. I mean I can to an extent but that’s a whole other thing.

All in all I think that the world needs to be kinder to travelers, more directions would be lovely and I would really appreciate the security people to be less intimidating too (but I understand why they are).

So from a very anxious introvert, hello from London. I hope I can encourage some other people who are terrified of traveling to actually travel. I think it’ll be worth it.

Throwback Thursday: Great River Bluffs State Park

Last summer my boyfriend and I had a lovely adventure to Great River Bluffs State Park.

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The trails were pretty easy, and a lot of it was shaded which was nice. The weather was gorgeous and the views were absolutely stunning.

One helpful tip! Check yourself for spiders before you leave the park! Because there may be a chance that you will have one crawling all over you and then your boyfriend will have to smash it with an almost full cup of coffee while you’re driving so that you don’t panic and drive off the road. (WHAT A FUN TIME).

Great River Bluffs is a beautiful park, small yet totally worth the trip!

Hope y’all enjoyed the pictures.