Friday, August 14, 2015

Climbing, boating, and hiking

Have you heard of the "I Can" program through MN State Parks?  Noah had some interest in rock climbing after trying the army recruiter tower at Rochesterfest, so we took him out to Blue Mounds to get a little more serious about climbing.
He was a natural and had a fun time.  An hour and a half wasn't as long as he wanted to go, even though the older batch of us had some really tired muscles by the end of that time.
He wants to go back again every time they have the I Can Climb program.  Probably not, but we'll definitely take advantage of other opportunities to climb.

Luverne, MN is just down the road from Blue Mounds and has a river area that caught Brian's eye while figuring out what else to do while over there.  There's a playground and city park adjacent to a fun spot on the river.
The playground was pretty well forgotten about and the river became the playground.  We did lap after lap after lap of the rock garden area.  Brian finally has an excellent use for his toy boat that hasn't seen much water in it's first year in our gear closet.  It packs under the car seat real easy, so it's always handy if you find an exciting piece of water.
Upon return home, Brian immediately found more fun river locations to take his little boat to.

There's also a National Wildlife Refuge within a couple miles of Blue Mounds called Touch the Sky.  It's an area that was restored to native prairie.  We chose to hike the <1 mile prairie waterfall trail. It was absolutely gorgeous!  It reminded us of the north shore with large rocks to jump across, but it was surrounded by flat expansive prairie land and big sky.

That was all done between breakfast and dinner on one action packed day.  Dinner was quite late because of adding on the play time at the prairie waterfall.  Who knew the SW MN farming region had so many fun recreational opportunities?!

We camped overnight there too, but the camping wasn't much to recommend the place.  Blue Mounds has a rentable tipi camping option, we might see if we can get that next time - they built the tipis in the best camping area.  We were deep in the woods and could barely stand to be in our campsite because of the mosquitoes. I bet it's beautiful in the fall too, after a frost so the bugs are gone...

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