Two Loves : Hiking & Art

An open sketchbook is in the foreground with a small drawing in pastel on the white pages. The background has mulch and plants which make up the path of the garden.

#32 of my 2021 52 Hike Challenge

Trail/Park: Elouise Butler Wildflower Garden, Quaking Bog and Trails of Theodore Wirth Regional Park, Minneapolis, MN

This hike took place on the traditional territory of the Wahpekute and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. I respect the histories, languages and cultures of these peoples, whose presence continues to enrich our vibrant and changing communities. To learn more about the tribes and these lands, please follow the links provided.


In what seems like a lifetime ago, I studied art in college. Earned a BFA. Then life came along and took me down many proverbial and real paths away from the act of creation for pleasure or profit. I’ve been inspired over and over again by my friend Jen (aka Wandering Pine). We first met as the Minnesota chapter of Women Who Hike was getting started. Jen became an Ambassador and about a year later I joined her as a Co-Ambassador. Jen is a multi-talented person who loves the outdoors and the arts. Recently she’s been finding ways to share both passions with others.

In September I was able to score a spot in a class through Kula Academy for an art hike with Jen. About a dozen or so of us met at Theodore Wirth Park Regional Park on a beautiful Saturday morning. After introductions we took a meandering slow hike through the park. We visited the quaking bog, marveling at the little plants hanging on in the dry conditions. The conversation and laughter flowed as we got to know each other.

We followed the trail to the Elouise Butler Wildflower Garden. Before we entered, Jen suggested we take time to slow down further, to take in the beauty and, when the spirit moved us, find a spot to make some art or simply meditate. As the group slowly spread out I took many pictures while straggling behind. I showed my favorites and others shared their drawings, sketches and inspirations.

Coming upon a mother daughter pair we started chatting. One of the two described the dilemma of not feeling inspiration with the materials she’d brought. We discussed how maybe what she was meant to take away was simply writing down the inspiration she did have for a different kind of creative outlet. I moved on, asking here and there to have a glimpse into what others were creating. All of it was inspirational and calming. Finally, I came to the bench where Jen and our friend Lynnae were sitting. Jen sketching and Lynnae with her notebook writing.

From left to right the photo is of Jen, Ruth and Lynnae who are all smiling. Each has a pair of sunglasses perched on their head or hat. The background is filled with green vegetation.

Sitting with them I began to sketch out a trio of mushrooms I’d snapped a photo of during our hike, adding color with pastels. Being with these ladies fills my heart every time. We chatted about our latest pursuits. Before I knew it our time to move on had come.

We walked to the broad area just outside the wildflower garden to share our efforts and take a group picture. So many beautiful moments of inspiration were shared. Many of the group, like me, would head home with a piece to finish. To end our time together we took a trail that’s set with signs to encourage folks to quietly meditate as they move through the space. Imagining what it would be like to be a small animal moving through the forest, sitting quietly or simply listening to the wind though the trees.

Then, as we headed back to our meeting place, we happened on pair of deer on our intended trail. We watched quietly for a bit, finally taking a side trail so we could leave the pair undisturbed. I left the park feeling energized, and yet calm.

Next Post Preview: I’ve been considering taking on the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin for quite a while. Check back to see what impression I have after my first section hike.


GEAR: Merrell Women’s Siren 3 Mid Waterproof, Marmot Kompressor Pack, SPOT GEN3 Satellite GPS Messenger, Dueter Dirtbag, Kula Cloth, and 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”.

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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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