Monson Lake State Park

Our stay at Monson Lake State Park on the night of August 15th was pretty much an accident. I had made an error when making the original reservations that I discovered about 2 weeks prior to our departure for the trip. The error meant that we had no reservations for the night of the 15th. We had originally planned on just driving through this park on our way from Lake Carlos to Sibley, but instead ended up staying the night here, which worked out well.

The park is the site of an Sioux Indian uprising (massacre) in 1862 that claimed the lives of 13 settlers in the area at the time. The depressions of the basements of the homesteads can still be seen (two depressions are very near to the park office and another is near the gravel road to the east of the park).

We were surprised to see that the park had a full-time staff member/manager when we arrived (Rodney). He was very interesting to chat with and I'm sure is a large part of why I enjoyed the park as much as I did.

The campground was full of nice-looking sites, and Rodney said that they should be putting electricity in to some of the sites "any day", which sounded like before the end of this year's camping season. Honestly I'm not sure why the parks don't have more electric sites then they do - electric sites are almost always the ones that are completely booked up first.

We found the geocache while doing the Hiking Club Trail. This was the only Hiking Club trail that the entire family went with. We also took in the tail-end of an interpretive presentation (that started with a movie at Sibley) before we departed the park on Satuday.

A very enjoyable park although fairly small - not much for trails and the lake, while sandy, has an algae problem that makes swimming less than desirable.

View pictures from our stay here.

Glacial Lakes State Park

We stayed at Glacial Lakes State Park from Wednesday, August 13th through Friday, August 15th. It was actually supposed to be through Saturday the 16th but I messed up when I made the reservations and by the time I found the error it was too late to fix the problem (the park was already booked up for the weekend).

I enjoyed the scenery of the park very much - it greets you as soon as you drive in:

We did the Hiking Club Trail and the geocache both on Wednesday afternoon after we arrived (the cache is along the Hiking Club Trail along with two other caches). The hike takes you out to an overlook with some more nice views:

The park also has a nice swimming beach in a crystal clear lake (apparently the lake's entire watershed lies within the park boundaries) and a nice looking picnic shelter. This is one park I wouldn't mind coming back to again to do some more hiking to explore the landscape!

See the pictures from this stay here.

Lake Carlos State Park

We arrived at the park on Monday the 11th between some rain drops. It had just stopped raining there before we arrived and started up again while we were there. Our stay at this park was a couple of nights - we left on Wednesday the 13th.

I've stayed at Lake Carlos a number of times in the past. Some of the family members that we often camp with enjoy the park - it's not exactly one of my favorites however, primarily because the lower campground on the lakeside is fairly crowded with little privacy between campsites.

My dad did the geocache without me on Monday evening after we had all headed into Alexandria to hit up the Pizza Ranch for dinner. Natalie and I headed over the Walmart after dinner to buy some various items that we needed, while he headed back to the park with my aunt and uncle. We had originally talked about doing the cache together that evening, however my quick stop at Walmart turned into an hour+ stop, so he opted to do the cache with my uncle in the evening (they finished up the cache at dusk). I went out the next morning and located it with him in tow (I think he gets a kick out of watching me look for it).

After the cache we drove over to the picnic grounds and did the Hiking Club Trail as well.

This was the last park that we saw any rain at - our campsite at Carlos however seemed to puddle up pretty easy when it rained, so things got a little messy a couple of times.

Click here to view the pictures from our stay.

Glendalough State Park

After leaving Maplewood on Monday the 11th we made a quick pit stop at Inspiration Peak to take in the (foggy) view and find a geocache hidden near the top. I've seen the point on the map for a long time and have always wondered what was there. I'm sure the view is stunning, we just missed out on it.

After that we headed to Glendalough State Park to do the Hiking Club Trail and find the geocache in the park.

This was perhaps the worst hike of the trip, not because of the park or the trails but because of the weather. We started out in a mist and I'm not sure it ever really got better until we were pretty close to the end when it finally stopped for a short period of time. The Hiking Club Trail seemed poorly signed in multiple places here (including the first couple intersections that we came to). Luckily my dad had a good idea where we were supposed to be on the map so we made it around the lake.

Hiking Club Trail

"Stand over by that sign and look like you're having fun."

To see the pics from our short visit, click here.

Maplewood State Park

This park was the first park that we stayed at on our week and a half camping trip this year. While the park was beautiful, I'm told it's absolutely stunning in the fall when the leaves are changing. It's called Maplewood for a reason. The park offer a few different areas to overlook the trees and the trails through the woods offer some nice views - the woods that I hiked through were lacking a lot of the underbrush that often can block the nice views.

View of the Hiking Club Trail

The geocache is located atop Hallaway Hill in the park. The hill offers some nice views of the surrounding countryside. (I recall hiking this hill in the past when I was just a kid and finding garter snakes all over the mowed trail on the way up.) My dad and I hiked the hill on Friday afternoon when we arrived at the park and located the cache with no problems at all.

View from Hallaway Hill

We hiked the Hiking Club Trail on Saturday morning. He told me along the way about the last time he was here, hiking the same trail alone, with warnings about a cougar in the park (and how it stalks it's prey, etc, etc). Thankfully there were no recent spottings this year. :)

You can view all of the pics from the stay here.

Cuyuna State Recreation Area

We made a quick stop (our first) on our week and a half vacation at the Cuyuna Rec Area to locate the geocache and get the book stamped. My dad had located the cache earlier in the week, so he enjoyed watching Grace and I pick the correct trail to the cache (we picked wrong BTW). :)

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