Monday, October 20, 2008

Two hikes in the woods

From Dan: It sure was a great weekend here in Minnesota. Two beautiful warm fall days with the leaves at their colorful peak. On Saturday we went hiking out to Pike's island at Fort Snelling State Park, just below the airport under the Hiawatha bridge. We first visited this park a few years ago, having lived in the Twin Cities all our lives and never seen it before. It's a pretty cool place, with a lot of land hidden away where the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers merge. We climbed fallen cottonwoods and walked along the river and picked up some trash.

We also found out about the State Park system's Geocaching courses, which are new this year. Homeschoolers that we are, we got oursleves a low-end handheld GPS and trekked out to Afton State Park on Sunday. (Many parks also have free GPS units available for checkout.)

Abby and Riley took turns with the GPS, directing us from one checkpoint to the next until we found all 6 of the geocaches in the park, which took us about 2 hours and 2 1/2 miles of walking (we're pretty slow in the woods). When we found the final cache, we got to write our names in the log book and collect a card as proof. Riley's excited about collecting cards from all 72 State Parks and Recreation Areas that have set up geocache courses, but that might be a little ambitious. Still, Millie noted that it's at least as fun as golf without having to hit a ball around--a free and fun outdoor family activity.
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