Now that I finished my travel series of last fall's vacation to the Great West, I can go back and share a few local staycations we did in the fall and winter.
Usually my husband and I do a lot of hiking in the fall. This year we didn't do too much. One reason was that we just returned home from a vacation out west which involved a lot of hiking. Then we took a quick mini vacation to Indiana to see our newest grandson. But probably the biggest reason of all was the fall color was terrible this year. I know you won't believe me, because these pictures are gorgeous, but this was the only weekend in the fall where we had a lot of color. The colors were very late this year, and by the time they did arrive, it quickly got cold and all the leaves dropped to the ground.
For this trip, my husband stayed back at the house to get some work done, and my son and I went hiking alone. I can't even begin to tell you all the envious friends I had who saw the photos on FB and thought how wonderful it was that my son and I went hiking together. "My son would never do anything with me!" several women commented. I had to reassure them that this was the first, and probably last time, that my son and I ever did a solo hike. Don't get me wrong. We had a wonderful time, but this is not usual for us. We are either hiking as a family, or Jordan would hike alone. All summer long, he drove to any state park within two hours from home to go hiking. But he knew this was probably going to be his last hike of the year and the colors would be at full peak and I would want to see them, so he asked me to join him. Isn't that sweet?
This week we decided to try a Minnesota State Park. I live in Wisconsin, but I'm very close to the border of Minnesota, so we can enjoy a lot of their parks too.
Frontenac State Park is located on the Mississippi River in Frontenac, Minnesota, about ten miles from Red Wing. It is known as a "Birdwatcher's Paradise" because of it's location. We saw a huge flock of white birds sitting in the river while we there. I'm not sure what they were as we didn't bring binoculars.
Frontenac State Park has 2,300 acres of diverse landscape: prairies, bluffs, floodplain forests, and hardwood forests.
There are so many trails at this park it was hard to choose. We decided to hike both the Lower and Upper Bluffside trail. They both have amazing views of Lake Pepin and/or the Mississippi River and run perpendicular to each other, but the lower trail is closer to the water's edge. When hiking the lower trail it can feel like you're constantly walking on slant (as pictured by my son's posture in the picture above) because the trail is in the middle of the bluff.
We found this tree that fell over and formed this amazing shape. I said "Oh, I would love it if this would have happened in my yard! I would create a secret garden with it!"
Most of the views of the water on the lower trail look like this. That is water you are seeing through the trees, not just sky. I couldn't help but wonder if one would be able to see the water in the summer when there is more foliage.
The trail could be hard to follow at times with all the leaves on the ground. Thankfully they had markings on the tree and not just the ground to lead the way.
In this photo you can see the water better along with the famous Driftless Region Bluffs in the distance.
I think we did it the right way doing the Lower Bluffside Trail first starting from the South end, because there were a lot of stairs on the north end and it would have been tricky coming down this way.
The Upper Bluffside Trail has the most incredible views with lots of viewing decks.
If you have walking sticks, I highly recommend bringing them on this hike as there are lots of rock steps, steep slopes, and many staircases which can be slippery when it rains or covered with leaves.
I could not get over how beautiful this hike was. It was the perfect combination of fall foliage with water, scenic bluffs, and the most pure blue sky.
This rock is famous in the park. It is named Yan Teopa. You can read more about it in the second photo.
The two trails form a loop that is four miles long.
Yellow was definitely the prominent color when we were there.
There are so many viewing decks on this trail that we didn't even stop at all of them. In the picture below you can see one of the decks.
I think I always drive my son nuts when I go hiking because I'm always stopping to enjoy the beauty and take pictures. I also thinks that's why he normally hikes by himself. 😀
I love the photo below. I remember when we were hiking I was just awestruck with how blue the sky was and the beauty of the sun peeking through the leaves onto the trees.
There were so many more trails I wanted to take in this park, but my son was getting hungry and didn't bring snacks like I did (I offered him some of mine, but he didn't like what I had) and wanted to go into town to get some lunch. We did however hike back to a couple of look-out-points on the map and we sure glad we did because they were breath-taking!
This spot is called "Old Frontenac Overlook" because it overlooks the old town.
I really enjoyed this park and I would like to go back again but this time with my hubby. There were quite a few trails left to explore, and I know he would like to try this one too!
Have A Great Day! Amy
Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!
So glad you still found a day with lots of color to hike! We only had one weekend last fall when we were able to go hiking, but what should have been the peak weekend wasn't, as most trees hadn't turned color yet. But at least we got to do one fall hike.ReplyDelete
You got some really wonderful pictures here and it's so nice that your son took you along.
Me too! Yes, the colors were really late this year. It was so odd. And I know that for sure because my pictures from last year were a month earlier than this year's colors.Delete
Amy, thank you for taking me on vacation this morning! I needed that! What beautiful scenery and photos. Would love to go there someday when travel is not so difficult. Happy Winter!ReplyDelete
You're welcome! I hope you can go to this park someday. It's a beauty.Delete
Enjoyed seeing your pics. Thanks so much for linking up at the Unlimited Link Party 67. Pinned!ReplyDelete
Visiting again to say thanks so much for linking up at the 25 and Done Link Party 4! 25 entries in 25 hours!! Shared onto Fb, Pn, and Tw!ReplyDelete
I just love that photo where you are framed by all of the yellow leaves. And it was sweet that you and your son were on this together. Even if it's the only time, haha.ReplyDelete
As for the branch, you could so make that into a secret garden. That is definitely your super power Amy.
Thank you. We sure got some pretty photos. And it was a special day for me.Delete
What a beautiful hike!! I am so sorry to hear that your fall colors weren't that great this year; I only tolerate winter because of all the pretty fall foliage! LOL. Hopefully next year will be better.ReplyDelete
No, it was not a good fall at all. Last year we had such beautiful color that lasted for weeks. We hiked every weekend. We definitely didn't do that this year.Delete
WOW!! What a beautiful place!! The scenery is stunning!! Thanks so much for sharing!!Thanks too for stopping by!! I really appreciate it!!!
The photos are incredibleReplyDelete
Thanks for share with us
Thanks, and you're welcome!Delete
I'm leaving here looking forward to a bit warmer weather, some good sunshine, and a lovely afternoon out in His creation.ReplyDelete
Thanks for getting me outsife, Amy!
Awww, good to know, and you're welcome!Delete
The leaves are so beautiful and colourful! What a great trail you hiked :) It's nice you could join your son even if you don't regularly hike with him though :) while the kids are little so we can't do proper hikes with them we still like walking around the local easy trails together and I hope we still do so when they are older :) Even now I still go on our little trail walks with my parents and the kids now and then, although life has been a bit busy for it lately!ReplyDelete
Hope that you are having a wonderful weekend :)
Away From The Blue
Thank you Mica, I hope your weekend is good too.Delete
You always take the best hikes. What a wonderful and lovely place. Very nice.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much! We try to find new places to hike in all the time.Delete
Thanks so much for stopping by again!! I really appreciate you taking the time to do so!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
What a gorgeous park. Those fall colors make everything better.ReplyDelete
They sure do. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
The leaves are gorgeous! Visiting you from the link up potpourri.ReplyDelete
They sure are! Thanks for visiting!Delete
What a great way to spend quality time with your son! This park is gorgeous!ReplyDelete
Jill - Doused in Pink
It was one of those memorable days!Delete
What a beautiful hike, you chose a great day to go! Thankfully my teen will hike with me but usually we do go as the whole family.ReplyDelete
Thanks! Yes, we usually always go hiking as a family too.Delete
What a beautiful area! The trees were such a beautiful shade of yellow. So nice your son invited you to join him.ReplyDelete
It sure is! Yes, he's a wonderful son!Delete