State Park Chronicles: Afton State Park

This potentially might be the last State Park Chronicle of the year 😦

There’s a chance that I will be able to go to one or two more parks in the coming weeks but I swear every time I make the plan to go to hiking on the weekend, then one of three things happens: one is that work gets so overwhelming that I have to spend the weekend hibernating (even though I know that hiking will make me feel better), two is that I end up staying up way too late on Friday night and spend Saturday sleeping instead, and three is that all week it says it’s going to be nice on Saturday and then it RAINS.

So if I can somehow get it together, I might go hiking this weekend. But also, I’m getting a new bed frame next week and am supposed to be getting a storage unit soon and I have another paper due so I’m guessing I will spend the weekend crying and stressed instead of hiking. Plus my chronic pain has been through the roof the last few weeks and it’s hard enough standing on my feet for eight hours a day for work let alone unwind with some rigorous hiking 😦

Okay, back to the point of this actual post. Afton State Park!! I have been here a lot over the years and while I haven’t explored a whole lot of it, the parts that I have seen are very nice.

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Afton was created in 1969 and I think the biggest draw to the park is the St. Croix River!

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The beach is almost always at least a little bit busy and there are always boats going by in the river.

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Since I was there with my brothers and mom this time, we mostly stuck to the main loop, heading down to the river and then back up. There’s also a trail through a “prairie” that’s really pretty (when it’s not sunny that is, hiking in direct sunlight is no fun!). Other than that, I don’t think I’ve been on any of the other trails.

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It was crazy looking at these trees by the river because you can see the marks from flooding water and it’s crazy to see how high up the water got. The flooding this year was crazy!

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There have been a ton of butterflies out and about and my mom and I chased this one down the trail to get some pictures. Afton is also a great park for checking out birds. I almost always spot loons down at the river and there are usually some hawks swooping around too.

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I think that Afton is a great day trip spot. My mom and the rest of my family camped in a yurt there once during the winter and they had fun but I think I’d prefer going just during the day. It’s a pretty small park, at least compared to something like Itasca and like I mentioned earlier, I feel like the main draw is the river. And to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of water so it’s definitely not my main draw to the park. Plus if you stop in for a day trip, then you can head over to Stillwater, or across the river to Hudson and get food or just walk around. Both of those cities are really nice!

But it’s got relatively easy trails (the hike back up to the parking lot can be a bit of an effort just because it’s all uphill) that are simple to navigate.

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Hopefully I’ll be able to make it to another park before winter hits, but I think if not I’m ending off the year on a high note. This was a fun trip and the weather was absolutely perfect!

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