October 2023 : Let’s Go!

#48 & 49 of my 2023 52 Hike Challenge

Trail/Park: Long Meadow and Minnesota River Greenway Trails, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

This hike took place on the traditional territory of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ and Wahpekute I respect the histories, languages and cultures of these peoples, whose presence continues to enrich our vibrant and changing communities. Join me in learning more about the tribes and these lands, by following the links provided.

Trash Collected: .25 pounds

Life continues to throw me unexpected twists and turns which I’ve tried rather unsuccessfully to balance with my hiking over the past year. Writing about the adventures has been at the bottom of my priority list. I want to change that. So rather than trying to catch up, I’m starting here with the gift of a clean slate for myself.

The summer of 2023 has been more full of hikes than even I realized as I sat down to write today. I’ve been slowly realizing my long-term goal of venturing to far flung places in and outside of my home state of Minnesota. A remote job opened the door for me to spend more time away from home while still earning income. But my home trails provide a deeper connection. I know them well though they are new each visit because they are constantly changing.

Most recently I have taken a few hikes at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a beautiful area with enough trails one could so a couple of miles to well over ten if you’ve got a full day ahead of you. While most of the trails are relatively flat, hiking in from the Visitor Center on the east end offers a nice uphill section to get your blood pumping and to have a bird’s eye view over the river valley. Even better has been taking these hikes with a group of the ladies from Women Who Hike MN in addition to solo hiking.

I love the river valley for a wide range of reasons, the most important being how accessible the trails are to many of the communities of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul). The river cuts through the metro area providing so much beauty and opportunities to see wildlife. This time of year brings southern migration of many birds. There are the sightings of eagles who overwinter on open sections of the river too. The sheer number brings birders from all over the state.

My favorite part of this time of year though is the change in color. Watching the green turn to golden hues, oranges and reds ahead of the coming winter gives that last burst of warmth before cold sets in. It puts me in the mind of getting cozy and warm. The days start chilly, warm up and then cool off again. The changes remind me of the importance of layers for outdoor pursuits. Sometimes it’s a challenge to prepare adequately, just like in other aspects of our lives. Lately it’s reminded me of importance of community to get through life’s challenges. Perhaps of all I get out of getting outside, it’s a reminder we can never really prepare for every eventuality, but if you surround yourself with others who have different approaches and skills, everyone thrives.

Next Post Preview: October also brings an opportunity to plan for new adventures to far flung places. The question is where will you find me next?

GEAR: Granite Gear Crown 38 backpack, Oboz Katabatic Mid Waterproof, SheFly® Go There™ Pant, 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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