#41hike of my 52 Hike Challenge
I want to acknowledge this hike took place on I want to acknowledge this hike took place on the traditional territory of the Mdewakanton and Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux).
One of the things I love about being a member and ambassador for Women Who Hike in Minnesota is that I get to help create an environment for women to gain confidence in their outdoors skills and to find fellowship on the trail. It’s a special thing to be able to do. So when my co-ambassador Wandering Pine suggested we have a yoga and hike event, I was completely on board.
After research about the conditions in a few parks, we landed on Glendalough State Park. I took the opportunity to arrive the night before our event to camp and take a little peek at the park before our group arrived the next day.
The added bonus was camping that evening with our yoga instructor. We’d never met, but that didn’t stop us from spending a few hours getting to know one another. My participation in Women Who Hike has lead me to many situations like this and I was pleasantly surprised with her equal willingness to embrace a new friend in this beautiful location. We enjoyed our dinner together and retreated to our respective hammock (mine) and tent (her’s) when the sun set and the mosquitos arrived.
The morning of our event I was up early and took in a walk to the shore of Annie Battle Lake. The sun was coming up and the view told me that we would have a beautiful, sunny day ahead. After coffee, breakfast and packing up our gear, we headed to the grassy lawn next to The Lodge. There we took in an hour-long yoga session with beautiful views of the lake. It was relaxing and energizing. I was reminded of the importance of stretching before strenuous activities, hiking included.
The hike was up next. We located the start of the Hiking Club trail that would take us just over three miles around Annie Battle Lake. A strong breeze helped us stay cool and keep mosquitos at bay throughout the the hike. We made a few stops, including one to check out the yurts that the park has available for use.
During our hike, I spent time talking with as many of the ladies as I could. One had driven from Rockford, IL, others from nearby. A few have regularly traveled to participate in Women Who Hike member hikes in neighboring states. One spent the night before on her first solo camping experience and another was going to stay for her first that evening. We celebrated those firsts and cheered each other for our accomplishments. It was exhilarating to be in a group celebrating our strengths without judgement.
At the end of our hike, some of the ladies took a dip in the lake. I spent a bit of time planning for an upcoming class that Jen and I will be teaching. Then I went to check out The Lodge. It’s the beautiful, former summer home of the owners of the Minneapolis Star Tribune Newspaper. The lower level serves as a rental venue and museum of the park. Inside, above the entry from the porch to the main part of the house, above the door, I noted a plaque that seemed to capture the spirit of our day…
As I exited the park, I stopped by the Park Office to pick up a park patch for my collection and met Ranger Jeffrey. He’s been the ranger at the park for more than 25 years. I learned he’s got a bit of a passion about Monarch butterflies. In doing so, he invited me to tag one and release it.
After showing me how to tell the sex of the butterfly, we placed a tag on it’s wing and I carefully carried it outside for release. It was the first time I’d ever held a butterfly for that long. I carefully placed it on the ground and watched it take to the sky, fluttering in the strong winds until it landed again for a rest. Now I’ll wait, perhaps up to three years, to see if it makes the journey back to Mexico.
The day was a special one, filled with hope. It rejuvenated me. For that I am yet again thankful that my legs have carried me to all the wondrous places they have.
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