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: ★★★★

Hike 17 - America Hill

I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since I officially logged in a hike. I’ve been on some walks, but didn’t take advantage of any winter hiking. At any rate, I am ready to get back to it this year. My first official hike of the year was in the Virgin Islands. We’d gone to St. John, USVI 10 years ago (it’s where we got married) and hiked Ram Head Trail at that time. It’s a great trail with fantastic views, but absolutely no shade. We headed out early, but I still ended up with heat stroke. It was horrible and when Jesse suggested we do it again I had to shut him down. Once was enough. Plus, this island has a ton of trails - most of the island is a national park, so I wanted to explore something new.

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I wanted a trail with shade and a local recommended America Hill Ruins. To get there, you start at Cinnamon Bay Trail and walk up a steep hill before turning left on the America Hill trail head. We went early to try and avoid the heat, but it’s never really cool in the Virgin Islands so it was a humid and sweaty hike to the top. We counted down our five switchbacks and were rewarded with an amazing view at the top. Once back down we walked over and did the Cinnamon Bay Loop Trail as well. It’s a short, mostly paved trail around some ruins with guided signs.

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Hike #: 17

Trail: America Hill Ruins

Location: St John, United States Virgin Islands

Trail surface: Dirt, rocks, leaves (paved and boardwalk on the Cinnamon Bay Loop trail)

Date: 4/20/19

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This certainly wasn’t a long hike, but it wasn’t an easy hike either. It’s totally doable, just be prepared for the incline and the heat. Gratefully, there was a lot of shade and a beach nearby that we cooled down in afterwards. We all agreed that we took a point off for the heat. Jesse also noted that there wasn’t much to look at on the way up, but the view at the top was worth it. I’m not sure what he wanted to see (animals, flowers?), but I enjoyed the forest feel of the hike. Riley also took a point off because she was tired, but I wouldn’t hold that against this trail. :)


Jo: ★★★★

Jesse: ★★★

Riley: ★★★




Hike 16 - Eagle Mountain

Jesse, Riley and l had a number of days off in October and we debated on how to use those. At one point, we were going to do a family activity, but in the end Jesse and I decided to do a bigger hike so we left Riley with her grandparents and headed up to the North Shore. I really wanted to hike Bean and Bear Lake, but the weather forecast didn’t look great for a backpacking camping experience. So we changed our plans to hike Eagle Mountain on our first day since it would be nice and then decided to play it by ear for the next day when it was supposed to be really cold.

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Hike #: 16

Trail: Eagle Mountain

Location: West Cook, MN

Trail surface: Dirt, rocks, tree roots, wood over marshy areas, rocks, rocks, rocks…

Date: 10/19/18

Note: The trail is partly within the Boundary Waters and you can grab a permit at the trail head.

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Eagle Mountain is the highest point in MN at 2301 feet. While that’s not incredibly high compared to high points in other states, I was still a bit concerned as I don’t do great with climbing up. However, most of the trail is fairly flat - or rolling and it’s only the last bit of trail that ascends up the mountain.

It still kicked my butt.

The trail is mostly rock and tree roots which means that you are hiking mostly head down to make sure you don’t land on your ankle (I still did twice, but was fine).

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This was Jesse’s third time hiking this trail and he noted that doing it in the winter was the easiest and I totally see why. Walking over rocks and tree roots constantly did a number on my knees (between that and the bitter cold the next day we didn’t get in another hike). The trail also could have used some maintenance… the water level was high and with the help of some beavers, the water overflowed over wooden planks which meant we had to take our shoes off to walk through part of the creek. I didn’t really mind though as it was all part of the adventure. The North Shore trails are what really feel like hiking trails to us, and the only reason we didn’t give this one a 5 star was because the trail surface is killer. I was surprised to see young to old complete this trail.

Jo: ★★★★

Jesse: ★★★★

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