Beloved Trail : New Companions

#34 of my 2021 52 Hike Challenge

Trail/Park: Pike Island Trail, Fort Snelling State Park

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.

Trash Collected: 0.5 pounds

Sometimes we give days a symbolic power over our lives. In some cases it can be a helpful or in others not so much. Only the day itself shows which is true. With the day of my mom’s birthday approaching last October I decided I didn’t want to be alone taking my annual hike. I’d taken the day off work because I didn’t want to be there either. Instead I decided to lead a hike at Fort Snelling State Park for a small group of women from the Women Who Hike Minnesota group. It was a great decision, offering me the chance to get to know the ladies a bit better and enjoy the fall weather.

We met at the park and did a brief land acknowledgement. This land is sacred to the Dakota. Each time I hike it, it is with deep gratitude and respect. I shared the importance and history of the site in Minnesota’s history with those who had joined me. As we headed toward the Pike Island trail, we discussed the history a bit more and I encouraged the group to research further if they were so inclined.

The day itself was beautiful. Cool, with sunshine and a slight breeze. Conversation flowed easily. I appreciated the group was intentionally small. We were able to connect one-on-one. We laughed and took our time making our way along the four mile outer loop of the island. At the island’s tip, where the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers meet, we stepped far onto the sandbar extending into the confluence. The river so low. We took a few minutes to capture a group photo.

Our trip along the north side of the island brought the sighting of one of the local river boats. Deer could be seen off in the woods, keeping clear of the people on the trail. As we parted ways I again gave thanks for the opportunity to hike in this place. I meditated on those who died in the winter of 1862-63 at the Wokiksuye K’a Woyuonihan (Remembering and Honoring) Dakota Memorial. I thought of my mom. As I was preparing to leave a cardinal appeared in the woods, a personal symbol for me. A good day indeed.

Next Post Preview: A long-awaited hike with a friend I hadn’t yet met in person at one of my favorite parks.

GEAR: Merrell Women’s Siren 3 Mid Waterproof, REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket, REI Co-op 650 Down 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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