Upper Sioux Agency

It was a little bit warmer last Saturday afternoon, and the sun was out as Ross and I ventured to the Upper Sioux Agency State Park. It’s been a few years since we’ve been there, so it was good to check out a different trail. The air was cool as we hiked down by the river. Along the way we were greeted by several dogs that a couple of women were walking in the park.

According to its park map, there are 19 miles of hiking trails at Upper Sioux Agency State Park. There’s also the Minnesota River overlook, an interpretive center, the Upper Sioux Agency site and a sledding hill.

Aside from the two women and dogs, we didn’t see anyone else out on the trail. It was a peaceful walk by the river and across the prairie. All we could hear is a few birds and the leaves crunching under our feet. Of course, there was the rushing water of the river. When we’re on hikes, most of our five senses are heightened. I love the smell of a crisp fall day. I love seeing the vastness of the prairie land and the trees as we walk along. Sometimes we’ll hear the rustle of animals nearby. I sometimes will touch flowers, rocks or tall grasses on our journeys. That’s about it.

Speaking of animals rustling, we were near the overlook when we heard a slight noise and then a deer came bounding out. It bounced across the grassy area, and it went by me so fast I couldn’t tell if it was a buck or a doe. Ah, nothing like a walk in the park.

The Minnesota State Parks and Trails Facebook page had a link to the Minnesota DNR’s page on winter hiking. Some of the nearby (well maybe 85 miles nearby) state parks with plowed or packed trails include Blue Mounds, Sibley, and Flandreau. The only park we’ve been through in the winter is Blue Mounds. It was in March, and some snow had fallen earlier that week and wasn’t as packed. Some parts of the trail we were on went OK; others were a challenge. As I said last week, maybe we should go winter hiking a little more often. Granted I’m not a big fan of snow, but I’m a big fan of what the state parks have to offer, even if I’ve been to the same ones a number of times.