Hike 7 - Big Bay State Park/Big Bay Town Park

Our second hike on Madeline Island was a brief walk from our campsite. We'd considered another nearby hike, but there was a sign that a bear and her cubs had been seen recently, so we decided it was best to avoid that path. Instead we, walked over to the beach and took the boardwalk from Big Bay State Park to Big Bay Town Park. Back in 2013, when Riley was 3, we'd visited Madeline Island and walked a little of Big Bay Town Park, but didn't go far because 3 year old's don't hike far, so it was nice to see where that trail actually went.

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Hike #: 7

Trail: Big Bay State Park to Big Bay Town Park and back

Location: Madeline Island, Wisconsin

Trail surface: boardwalk with sand on the beach

Date: 5/19/18

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This trail was a little longer than we realized (2 miles each way?), which wasn't bad, but was more of a "when are we going to get to the end - this boardwalk feels like it goes on forever". In fact, Riley, who tends to rate on the high side, said she was only giving this trail a 3 because of the length even though she enjoyed the hike. The board walk was well maintained and had plenty of paths over to the beach and benches to rest on. It was chilly on this day with a threat of rain, but had it been warmer, we likely would have found a spot on the beach to relax for while.  We only saw a couple people on this trail so it earns points for that.

Jo: ★★★★

Jesse: ★★★★

Riley: ★★★

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Check out my Madeline Island post to read more about our weekend camping trip here. 

Hike 4 - Rice Creek North Regional Trail

I discovered the Rice Creek Regional Trail Corridor when a couple friends posted pictures of their kids amongst a trail of tall pine trees and I knew I wanted to find out where that place was. The following week, after buying Riley a new bike, we headed off to this trail to test it out (while Jesse and I briskly walked behind).

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We basically walked from the tall pines down to the dog park and back. As with many of the trails we've hiked, there are multiple trails or spurs worth exploring. My photographer friend sent me a map pointing out things like 'cute bridge' which we completely missed turning off for since we were following our biking kid who was always a bit of a distance in front of us.

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Hike #: 4

Trail: Rice Creek North Regional Trail

Location: Circle Pines, MN

Trail surface: paved

Date: 4/21/18

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Our hike was one week post-blizzard and while the sun did most of the work, the trails were nice and clean and in good shape. The dog park looked fairly large and was quite popular when we were there. We wouldn't normally go out of our way for a trail like this, but I'm glad I did... and that's part of why I wanted to do this 50 hikes by 50 challenge - to explore new places. Jesse and I both were pleasantly surprised by this trail. I'll admit that I struggle with our 5 star rating system and get caught up between what makes a trail a 3 or a 4, and so forth. Basically, I try to rate it on how I felt about it that day, but also try comparing it to some of my favorite trails. At any rate, use it for guidance, but take it with a grain of salt...

Jo: ★★★

Jesse: ★★★

Riley: ★★★★

Hike 3 - Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park

I only get to Coon Rapids one time a year - to do my taxes. Every year, we drive home over the river and I think "we should check out the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park". Yet, we never do... and it's not like it's that far from us. 

This year, our kid was at her grandparents on tax day and I was trying to think of something Jesse and I could do without our kid that day, besides our taxes, of course. It was pretty easy to convince Jesse to explore this trail as we were both itching to get outside after a long winter (and a winter that wouldn't end for another month). 

We usually prefer a dirt path over paved, but this trail was a little rough to walk on as it had a lot of ice/snow pack. I'm surprised I didn't fall, actually, and we were both glad to take a paved trail for part of the way. I'd like to go back in the future when there isn't any snow to give it another chance. My rating below reflects the ice pack and could certainly change if it was a different season.

Hike #: 3

Trail: Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park

Location: Coon Rapids, MN

Trail surface: paved, and dirt? It was icy snow when we were there. 

Date: 3/17/18

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Jo: ★★★

Jesse: ★★★

Riley: was at the grandparent's house

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