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Vikings and the muddy hike

A couple of Saturdays ago, Ross and I went to Memorial Park in Granite Falls to check out the Elvidal Viking Fest, which was hosted by the Sons of Norway Lodge Elvidal 509. The description I saw on Facebook said the event involved traditional game competitions, Viking encampment, weapons display, shield making, tattooing (temporary), bee keeping, rune reading, jewelry making, music, vendors, food, drink and special guests, the Viking Age Club and Society — Sons of Norway.

For a first-time event in Granite Falls, it was kind of interesting. People kept saying it was a good turnout. We didn’t get there until about 1 p.m. or so, so I don’t know how the morning went. Kids were getting shields made, members of the club were doing different demonstrations, which included card weaving and other crafts. Ross and one of the members who was by the weapons display talked for a while. The weather was also perfect for the event, it wasn’t too hot or too cold, and thankfully it wasn’t raining. The view of the Minnesota River was nice as well. It was a good day to be outside, learning about a different culture.

It had been a while since we’ve traversed through Upper Sioux Agency State Park. We weren’t too far away, so we decided to give it a go. Because of the heavy rains earlier in the week, the trails were wet and muddy. We decided to take our chances. If we came across extremely wet conditions or where the trail was flooded, we’d turn around. According to the Minnesota DNR website, the Minnesota River Trail is closed because of flood damage from multiple washouts, the Stagecoach trail is closed until repairs are completed, and the Wetland Trail, Terrace Trail and Raspberry Trail loop are wet and muddy.

It was also a bit humid while hiking in the park (well at least for me anyway). We came across some wet spot and tried our best to go around standing water.

But then I got tripped up by one of the slippery spots. I had failed to go left of this muddy, wet spot on the trail (less water on the left). I gingerly tried to step along the right side, thinking I’ll be OK. I admit I got startled a little by a snake that was on the trail and somehow I slid on some mud and landed mainly on my right side. I let out a yelp, slowly picked myself up and surveyed the damage. My right leg was covered in mud, I was wet and my shoes were muddy. Yeah, I started complaining and wanted to end the hike. But somehow Ross convinced me to keep going. Well, I’m already wet and muddy, how much worse could it get.

Ross wanted to help me with cleaning off some of the mud on my leg. He pulled out some tall grass and started rubbing the mud off. I noticed that he was bleeding. Apparently he had done something to his hand as he pulled out the grass. So he tended to his hand, I wiped off some of the blood that got on my hand, and we continued on. Fortunately the rest of our journey was water-free and without incident. I was just exhausted from the humidity and had a hard time breathing.

At least the monarch butterflies were out and about on parts of the trail and especially close to the park office, so that was a nice sight to see.

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