Hike 20 - Purgatory Creek Park

With Riley at her grandparents, Jesse and I decided to go on a hike of our own. We were still dealing with wet trails and hot days so we wanted to get out early to beat the heat and find a trail that was dry. A few rose to the top of my list, but I decided that I wanted Riley to go on those so I suggested this trail in Eden Prairie. I’d actually walked it a couple years ago while Riley was at a birthday party nearby and had always wanted to bring Jesse back.

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Hike #: 20

Trail: Purgatory Creek Park

Location: Eden Prairie, MN

Trail surface: paved, although there is a crushed rock trail that you can cut across part of the creek, but it was flooded when we were there so we had to turn around.

Date: 7/7/19

I’ve had a hard time searching for Purgatory Creek to find this trail. In fact, there is a Purgatory trail in nearby Minnetonka that we checked out last year. If you Google ‘Purgatory Creek Pavilion’ you will find a good start for this trail as there is a parking lot, and pavilion there. There are also some statues honoring our Military that is worth stopping to pay your respects at.

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This trail is a mix of shade and open sky, but is mostly open. It started out as a nice breezy hike, but we quickly heated up walking on the asphalt trail with the sun beating down on us at 9:30 in the morning. I need to start my hikes at 6 am to avoid this summer heat, I think. The trail is surrounded by houses and businesses and shops, and even connects to another nearby lake if you want to make it a longer hike. We might have if it weren’t for the heat.

This is the joy of living in Minnesota - there is lake after lake after lake and often a trail is built to walk around them. It’s something I often take for granted, but appreciate that our state makes sure that some of these lakes are preserved enough that anyone can enjoy them.

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Jo: ★★★★

Jesse: ★★★★

Hike 19 - Wolsfeld Woods Scientific Center

As I mentioned in my last post, there was a hike we attempted in May, but the trail was flooded so we came back in June. I was ok with that since Riley and I went on our own the first time and really wanted to bring Jesse back. Wolsfeld Woods one of those places I would have never found if not for this challenge. The trail head sits off a church parking lot about 20 minutes from home. The woods is named after the family that used to own it - while much of the land was used for farming, this section was kept as a maple syruping operation that continued from the 1880s into the 1940s. It’s now one of Minnesota’s scientific and nature centers.

Initially, Riley and I enjoyed the trail. It’s well shaded, and it would be the perfect fairy forest. Part of the trail is well maintained and other parts are in terrible shape. While we were able to find a way to get in 2 miles worth of walking, we weren’t able to complete the loop due to water. We decided to come back later in the summer with Jesse when it had dried out.

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Hike #: 18

Trail: Wolsfeld Woods Scientific Center

Location: Long Lake, MN

Trail surface: Dirt, rocks, leaves, mud

Date: 5/25/19 and 6/29/19

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When it wasn’t raining this summer, it was hot. I don’t do well hiking in the heat, but I thought this would be the perfect trail to explore in late June since it was so shaded. I was wrong. So very, very wrong. Between the water and the shade and the heat, this was mosquito central. I don’t think I’ve been swarmed by so many mosquitoes at one time. We were heavily covered in bug spray and put on multiple applications as we walked. Jesse finally just held the bug spray instead of putting it back into the back each time we were done with it. After the hike, we jumped in the car and cranked the AC on the way home - effectively sealing us into an area where I grew woozy with the smell of too much bug spray.

The upside is that we made our way around the loop and all agreed that this would likely be a wonderful trail in the fall (if they fixed/built bridges and cleaned up the trail some), but we were all a little scarred by the bug situation so we aren’t in any hurry to return. It’s a shame too as we all agreed that the trail has soooo much potential, but rating is based on our experience there.

Jo: ★

Jesse: 

Riley:

That’s right, there are no stars next to Jesse and Riley’s names, although after the May hike with just Riley and I, she was willing to give it a 2 at that time. This was definitely a trail of potential, but reality was that we were absolutely miserable. I would like to give it credit for all the trees and that it was very solitary (on each hike we briefly saw one other set of people). One day, we’ll go back in the fall if our memories of the bug attacks ever fade.

Hike 18 - Lake Harriet

Here’s the deal… we have gone on more hikes this year than I’m noting, but I’d decided not to count repeat spots. We tend to head over to our local nature center a lot and it would be no fun to document a repeated spot over and over. The thing is that it’s been wet this year, really wet. So many trails have been flooded or are muddy that it hasn’t been fun. That happened to us in May - a trail I’ll write about next because we went back when it was dryer so we could actually complete the trail.

But we didn’t want to give up on our hikes completely so in June we picked a paved trail around a local lake that we knew was dry. This one certainly feels way more like a walk - paved trails, in the city, tons of people, but we’re counting it.

Hike #: 18

Trail: Lake Harriet

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Trail surface: paved, paved, paved

Date: 6/1/19

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What can I say about this trail? You walk around a beautiful lake that’s surrounded by houses that I will never be able to afford. There’s a concession stand where you can get a meal, drinks, or a treat. There is a trolley nearby that was fun enough the one time we went with Riley, but once was probably enough. There is a beach, but it was closed at the time due to high algae levels. There is a band shell where they have shows and concerts. There are a lot of walkers (with dogs - so many dogs!), runners and bike riders. In fact, it was on this walk that we started entertaining the idea that we should get a dog of our own. That idea has fizzled out a bit, but I’m sure that spark will be easily ignited again by walking this trail. Oh, and there’s a great playground near the band shell to let your kid play at after your walk.

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Apparently, I only took pictures at the bandstand, but it’s nice trail that’s well used by the community. Honestly, this trail/lake/park and the others nearby are one of the reasons I love Minneapolis and Minnesota so much.

Jo: ★★★

Jesse: ★★★

Riley: ★★★★