Hike 12 - Door and Notch Trails

 I’d been looking forward to our get away to South Dakota for some time. We visited in 2015 as a family (and Jesse went back with some friends in 2016 and 2017). We did all the touristy things last time and hoped to get off the beaten path a bit this time.

Last time we spent half a day in the Badlands and it wasn’t nearly enough time to explore. This time we spent about a day and a half which was fantastic, but we left so much of this national park unexplored.

It was a hot one while we were there, 90’s on up to 100, but we were determined to get outside and find some trails. I don’t do well hiking in hot weather so we went earlier in the day (and perhaps should have gotten out even earlier).

Hike #12: 

Trail: Door Trail and Notch Trail

Location: Badlands, South Dakota

Trail surface: some boardwalk on Door trail, and a ladder on Notch, but mostly rock.

Date: 8/26/18

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We started with a geology tour that took us down the boardwalk of Door trail. We wandered out after that on the marked trail weaving on top of the eroded sedimentary rock distinctive of the Badlands. It was only a .8 mile trail so we headed down the road a little to Notch trail which is 1.2 miles.

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Notch trail should probably be hiked by those 8 and older just because there is a ladder you need to climb followed by a narrow walking path with cliffs to the side. At the top awaits a beautiful view and most importantly a little breeze. It felt incredibly hot along the trail, but at the top it felt a little more like the 70 something degrees it was.  

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While these were both short trails, together they made it long enough for me to consider it a hike. Additionally, there were some challenge points, such as not falling off a cliff. We all loved this hike, especially the ladder, but the heat made it a bit miserable at times.

Jo: ★★★★

Jesse: ★★★★

Riley: ★★★★★

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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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