Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Great Hike (or "The semi-trucks keep waking me up, dad")

OK- funny story. I think you'd get the best storytelling experience if I used photos as illustration. Enjoy.

After Church this morning, we decided to go hiking. Instead of trudging all the way out east to Afton, we chose a hike closer to home-- the Mazomani Trail in the MN River Valley- Louisiana Swamp area. We started at 2:30pm.
Less than enthused about the many layers that she is dressed in.
At the trailhead. We decided to go 'backward' because we had missed some really cool things the last time we hiked this trail (we ended up inadvertantly taking a shortcut). Remember this fact.
We stopped for a 'bite to eat'. It was about 35 degrees out, so it wasn't too bad, but still a bit chilly, so we made sure to bundle up. (Alex was getting fussy - which typically only happens when she's either a) hungry, b) really bad diaper, or c) somethings 'not to her liking' (e.g. 'sun-shade' strap from the backpack is smacking her in the face)

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After her quick lunch, Alex regaled us with many stories and funny anecdotes about her life.
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We hiked through a spillway, and saw a wild beaver! He was less than 12 feet away from us, just swimming and enjoying the day. Alex was sleeping by this point, however, and missed it.
There is an old pioneer homestead that is on the trail. By this point we had come approximately 1 1/2 hours-- and about 4 miles. We saw a sign pointing to another trail, and talked about coming back to hike to the Rapids another weekend. We also saw the sign directing us to the start of the looped trail we were on. It was another 3.4 miles away-- we were halfway done. Alex was still sleeping.

About half an hour later, we suddenly were thrust out of the park. The trail led to a train track, and a gravel road in someone's backyard (if not for the freeway, the movie "deliverance" comes to mind -- or having Aunt Debbie running out w/ a shotgun...). Feeling like we were trespassing, we stealthily snuck down the road, looking for the trail to pick up again. It didn't.
We then proceeded to try and find 169 (the highway closest to the park). After meandering past a brick manufacturer that Dave swore he had seen before, we found the busy highway. I refused to walk along the shoulder, and we took the alternate (and illegal) route along the railroad tracks. We did NOT encounter a train, but we did call Uncle Willy to see if he could find our location on Google Maps and make sure we were headed in the right direction. All we knew was that we were at mile marker 103, and we needed to get to the MN Renaissance Fairgrounds (where the trailhead is located). He told us that the entrance was between 102 and 103. After trekking through snow/mud/gravel/rotten timbers (Alex is still sleeping), and seeing a road up ahead we were sure that would be the road.

It wasn't. Then there was another road. It wasn't it, either. We just couldn't figure out HOW we got off-track to begin with. I mean, for the love of all that is good, THE TRAIL IS SUPPOSED TO BE A LOOP!!!

Right before we spied a brown historical marker sign pointing the way to the park, I tried calling my friend who lives in Shakopee to come rescue us. Luckily she wasn't home, because the road we needed was the next one we crossed. At mile marker 105. We had walked about 10 miles (2 miles next to Hwy 169 with trekking poles and a baby in a backpack carrier). People probably thought we were transients (with really good gear, Dave keeps mentioning). It was 5:30pm.

So....anyway-- now we're back. Everyone is OK. And Dave and I will NEVER be auditioning for Amazing Race. Never.

Hey, guys--- where were you all day???

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