Spring Ephemeral : Looking Back at Minnesota Wildflowers

Photo is a close up of blooming Trout Lilies. The leaves are mottled green and brown. Delicate red stems rise to tiny white flowers who's petals are furled upward away from the bright yellow stamen. Interspersed between the the lily leaves are brown leaves and twigs.

#13 of my 52 Hike Challenge

Trail/Park: Walter F. Mondale, Amik’s Pond and Old Logging Trails, Wild River State Park

I want to acknowledge this hike took place on the traditional territory of the Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. To learn more about the tribes and these lands, please follow the links provided.

Trash Collected: 2 pounds

A submerged stand of trees is surrounded by still water. There are green plants in the water and the trees have not yet leaved out.

It’s been a hot week with another to come. As I was scrolling back through my hike photos I found a batch from my visit to Wild River State Park in May. Seeing these beautiful images and reading my journal entry for the hike, I thought I’d share my thoughts from the hike and reminisce about the cooler temperatures I experienced.

Journal Entry:

With the past few hikes I’d been taking, as well as my volunteer work uncovering unexpected spring flowers, I decided it was time to see if any more ephemerals might be lurking a bit further north of my recent hikes. Plus I needed some time to ponder a few decisions I have to make about the course I’ll be taking going forward in life. My days off from work are sporadic so when a late morning opportunity presented itself, I hit the road to Wild River State Park. The park is one of my favorites. It has a great variety of hiking and camping options. An added bonus is its relatively close proximity to Minneapolis. Within an hour I was outside of the hustle of the city.

Starting from the parking lot near the Nevers Dam Trail, I headed east toward the St. Croix River. Shining sun and a warm midday were just what I needed as I tried to rest my mind. The decisions I had to make were taking up too much space in my head. I hoped to set them free on the trails.

As I neared the river, incessant calling from a gaggle of geese caught my attention. The cacophony took obliterated all thought, completely distracting me. As I looked around to see the geese, I also started noting the spring ephemerals I had hoped might be lingering.

The image shows a section of trail submerged with narrow stretches of green grass on either side. There are trees bordering the grass and a small bit of river is visible to the right side of the image.

The Walter F. Mondale Trail loops south along the river and can be underwater in the spring. I took the southern turn, happy to find more bloodroot and trout lily in bloom. Just as expected I came upon a stretch of trail that was completely submerged. Not posted as closed, hikers encountering the muddy water were walking the edges making the trail wider. I grabbed my trekking poles, tested the depth and determined I’d be fine trudging through the middle. It’s a benefit of wearing waterproof boots.

As I reached the other side, I met the first group I’d encountered since turning onto this section of trail. Otherwise I’d had it to myself, which was surprising to me on such a nice day. I continued on, having to retrieve my Granite Gear Groundskeepers bag to pick up a variety of trash. There was even a broken fishing pole pushed broken tip first into the ground next to a tree! Coming to the southern end of the loop, I did a round through the small picnic area picking up more trash. Discarded banana peels, snack wrappers and bottle lids were freshly strewn around.

Turning north there were a few more hikers out and I helped one couple find their way to the Mondale Trail. Returning to my car my thoughts turned back to the decisions I’d still need to make in the coming weeks. I hadn’t found any resolution. What I had done was given my mind something else to focus on for a while. It was just what I needed.

Next Post Preview: I’ll take a slow roll to see a few more spring flowers on a quiet weekday.

GEAR: Merrell Women’s Siren 3 Mid Waterproof, REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket, Marmot Kompressor Pack, SPOT GEN3 Satellite GPS Messenger, Dueter Dirtbag, Kula Cloth, Leki Women’s Micro Vario Cor-Tec TA trekking poles. Want to know more about my gear selections? Head on over to Gear & Gadgets or check out my posts titled “Gear in Review”.


Photo of a group of hikers on a sunny day in a field heading towards a wooded area. The photographer has taken the photo from behind the group.

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