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In search of fall colors

Every fall it seems like our quest to see fall colors while taking a hike has mixed results. We lucked out on Leaf Days last September in Maplewood State Park where some of the reds were on display. I joined a couple of Facebook pages a couple of years ago, one being North Shore Tribe, where people share their photos of scenic spots around mainly northern Minnesota. In the last few weeks, I’ve been jealous of the vividly-colored leaves showcased on trees along the North Shore or other locations that are nowhere near me.

At least the trees on the street where I live are showing off some brilliant colors.

So I was itching to visit a state park with hopefully some fall colors this past Saturday. We decided on a return trip to Kilen Woods State Park, which is near Windom. The Minnesota DNR Fall Color Finder said it was 50-75% peak that particular day. It’s a nice park to visit, so we headed in that direction.

Since it was snowing and windy and cold, I was bundled up in my coat, hat, mittens and scarf. We didn’t get to the park until 3:30-4 p.m. There was nary a soul in the parking area as we approached except for I believe was the park ranger sitting in a truck. Ross asked “So what do you know?” or something like that. I didn’t really hear the answer, but I think it pertained to the falling snow.

We parked the truck, got out and hit the trail. The wind was pretty strong; not enough to necessarily knock me over, but it felt icy. Unfortunately with the snow and wind and such, the fall colors weren’t really popping. It was a lackluster show, but we made the most of our afternoon in nature.

When we entered the woodsy part of the trail, the wind wasn’t as bad, but out in the open prairie, brr! I did my best to not slip on the wet, already-fallen leaves — gotta have at least one accident-free hike during the season.

Since the days are getting shorter, we didn’t spend that much time on this particular journey (according to my Fitbit, the walk was roughly 73 minutes, seemed longer though).

The snow had tapered off by the time we left Kilen Woods. Ross made another stop to check out another area we had visited a couple of years ago — Red Rock Falls County Park. I wasn’t too keen on getting out of the truck, so I read one of the umpteen books I have going while he went exploring. He noted that things have been updated at the park, so I guess we could return there someday for another visit.

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