Saturday, June 9, 2012

Glacial Ridge Trail

John found a publication titled On the Trail of a Glacier  which we used a lot for our adventures/misadventures yesterday. The maps in that guide were not to scale and lacked in detail so we traced and retraced our steps several times, driving down many back country gravel roads of Minnesota. When we started kvetching about all the gas and miles we covered going nowhere, we reminded each other that it was an adventure which was not all that bad. We saw several deer on the roadways, a ring-necked pheasant, wild turkey, and numerous chipmunks. We also saw many farms, cows and corn fields. This area lies within the Alexandria Glacial Moraine ( I have alluded to that glacier in a previous posting). Years ago blocks of ice, buried in the debris of the glacier, melted to form hundreds of small lakes, dotting the countryside through which we drove yesterday.  Many of the farms we saw had either lakes or small ponds near them. One of the counties we were in has 300 lakes, they sure make for some picturesque scenery!
 Glacial Lakes State Park was one location on the scenic by-way which was quite difficult to find. We spent a couple of hours looking for that park, even driving through a messy road construction area to get there. After finding the park, John wanted only do a quick drive through it, to which I objected with the logic that we had come too far to just give it a cursory glance. We checked with a park ranger to learn which trails of the park would take us to such glacier landscapes as kames, kettles, and eskers. We took a short hike to the highest point in the park, walking along the ridge of a long esker- a long low winding ridge which once was a pile of coarse gravel deposited by a stream flowing in an ice-walled valley.  Below is a picture of the view we had of the glacial landscape once we arrived top of the highest kame ( a rise or hill of glacial drift).
And we saw trolls yesterday! We stopped at Holly Skogen Park where trolls and gnomes can be found in a shaded forest filled with ferns, flowing streams and springs. Thor greeted us on one of the bridges.
Another frustration of the day was our futile search for Indian Mounds in the area of Lake Minnewaska. While wandering the roads on the north shore of that lake I noticed a wedding ceremony taking place at the lakeside and at the same time John exclaimed:  "would you believe it, there is bison in that pasture!".  They were almost directly across the road from the wedding. It certainly had been a day filled with unusual sights. We saw a lot more in the course of that day, but this posting has been long enough. I have one more picture to show- which is of Indherred Lutheran Church. The spires of that church can be seen for many miles on the prairie skyline. It has been an important landmark in that community since 1872, and it is still an active congregation. While walking around on the church grounds, John espied a mud turtle and tried to snap a picture of it. Hard to believe, but that turtle actually ran from John! It was a first for me- a running turtle.  That was a most fitting ending to our strange but fun day.

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