A Beautiful Day

The lake at Van Meter State Part
The lake at Van Meter State Part

We haven’t had many absolutely gorgeous weekends lately, though we haven’t really had any terrible ones, either.  Still, we took advantage of the weather and went to Van Meter State Park again to get a picnic lunch in and a brief jaunt down the trail.  We went down a different section than the last time, heading down into a valley toward a lake set up for fishing, with a trail wrapping around it.

Calvin walking by the lake.
Calvin walking by the lake.

The trail is something like 0.6 mi long, and we didn’t get anywhere near that distance.  We didn’t deal with putting kids in backpacks or anything this time, so we tried getting Calvin to walk as best we could.  For the most part, he did fine, though part of the trail got a bit closer to the water than we’d prefer.

Sitting on the dock.

We didn’t end up staying all that long.  Maybe an hour and a half or so.  I suspect Meg, Calvin and I will head back frequently this summer as an excuse to get out of the house and take in some fresh(er) air.  We walked back up the hill to the car (Calvin had to be carried by this point, and Meg wasn’t too happy about her feet…) and headed home.  Calvin took a nap after we got back, Brooke got some painting done, and I mowed the lawn.  Meg had a birthday party at 4:30, and while Brooke took her, Calvin and I got dinner going.

Filet and veggies.  Mmmmm.
Filet and veggies. Mmmmm.

In the end, I think we spent 8 or 9 hours outside today, soaking it all in.  Lots of productivity, lots of play time.  It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so I guess we’ll just have to remember today while we’re stuck in the house tomorrow.

Speaking of “the house,” the next post will hopefully feature our next upgrade.  Tonight, we were able to finish up the paint in “the music room,” though we have a little more work to do in mounting the guitars.  By midweek, we should be good to go.

Onward and upward!

Family Vacation, Part II

Hiking on The River Trail

On our second day of vacation at Interstate State Park, we opted to give hiking a try.  Again, this is one of those things where it’s difficult to know how well, exactly, Meg will do on an extended hiking trip, but we figured it was something to do besides playing with rocks.  As a baby shower gift, we received this huge child backpack doohickey that fits much like a frame backpack and can carry children up to 50 lbs (supposedly…though how you carry that much, I dunno…).  Regardless, we tested the rig out a few weeks prior to see how Meg would take to it and she seemed pretty cool with the idea of riding in a saddle on Mama and Daddy’s respective backs.

In the end, she did remarkably well!  She asked to get down a few times, but not all that often.  She liked removing my hat and putting it on her head, but for the most part, she was entertained just sitting in the pack and looking at our surroundings.  She sang a bit to pass the time, too, which is always amusing (except at 4:30 am).

Taking a rain break at a local community center.

One of the songs Meg particularly enjoyed singing was “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” as we ended up getting caught in a reasonably heavy bout of rain.  Most of the hike, it was just a drizzle, but right around the point we were to be out in the open, about halfway through the ~4 mi trek, the heavens opened up a bit more.  Thankfully, the trail ended at an empty community center in Taylor Falls, MN, so we took a brief respite while the rain clouds passed overhead.  It was a good time to introduce Meg to trail mix (which she loves now…) and let her walk around a bit before continuing on.

This, my friends, is a "pothole."

The trail passed by an area with some interesting geological formations known as glacial potholes.  The Minnesota DNR has a video up describing them if you’re interested.  While you’d be right to think of potholes on the road when you think of these things, in reality, they refer to formations in volcanic rock (basalt) where rivers fed by glacial runoff slowly drilled down in a vortex fashion, making deep holes in the river bed.  As the glaciers receded, the potholes were exposed, leaving us with formations like those pictured here.

Looking up through the bottom of one

The potholes truly came in all shapes and sizes.  There were deep craters, some filled with water, and other areas that were more open after sections had collapsed over the millenia. Because some had collapsed in on themselves, visitors are able to safely get down into the area and look up from the bottoms of some without needing a ladder to gain access.  The sides of the potholes were very smooth, indicative of water slowly scraping away the rough edges of the rock as it bored down.

The area reminded us of Elephant Rocks, a state park here in Missouri that neither of us have visited in years.  We’ll probably try to get down there in the next year or so, now.

Making Mimimi her breakfast...

The rest of the hike back to camp was uneventful.  Really, the rest of the day was uneventful, with us laying in the tent trying to get Meg to take a nap (she didn’t…but Brooke did…grrrr…).  The rain held off for the rest of the day, which was very nice for ensuring the tent would be packed up dry the next morning.

But before I get to that, I thought I should briefly describe what was going on in the picture above.  Recently, we found out that Meg has an imaginary friend named “Mimimi.”  When we were visiting the potholes, Meg took it upon herself to walk back and forth on this walkway to her kitchen to make Mimimi her breakfast.  She’d tell Brooke and me to stay back while she walked toward the rock-formed archway, where she made some hand gestures, and then came back and delivered the imaginary cereal to her imaginary friend.

Things like this occurred for most of the trip to Minnesota.  I just thought I’d mention it here for posterity, so we can remind her of it when we meet her first boyfriend. 😉

Regardless, Day Two was fun.  A 4 mi hike was definitely lengthy, especially with a 25 lb child on your back, but we had a good time, got some exercise, and got to see some cool stuff.  Well worth it!