This past week I made the decision to make an effort to run all of the Minnesota State Parks. There are 67 in my beautiful state and I can't wait to set foot into every one of them!
I ventured over to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park last week and began my quest. Kathio is an hour away from my home so I made the decision that it was OK for me to travel that far during the Minnesota Stay Safe Plan. As I pulled into the lot I noticed there was only one other car parked, that surprised and delighted me!
I had a very stressful week and realized I hadn't looked up any Kathio information before I left for the park. I once visited years before, before I had children! It had been a while.
Checking out some of the trail map signs I saw that there were 35 miles of hiking trails so that looked like a good place to start! The trails were in great condition. The leaves were starting to open, there were signs that summer was eventually going to be arriving. Green grasses were budding, leaves and ferns were beginning to unfurl.
Running from the trail center toward Ogechie Lake I came upon two campgrounds, the Touch The Earth Trail and then Ogechie Lake. It was beautiful, lots of rolling hills, well marked paths. I enjoyed the trails very much. I was seeking solitude, peace and prayer and that was what I received. What a gift. Before I knew it 20 miles had passed. I was going to run the remaining 15 miles the next day.
On day 2 I knew where I was going to go. I wanted to check out the observation tower, and Black Bass Lake. Again as I pulled into the lot, nobody was there! I was so happy! I filled up my pack and changed into my trail shoes. Running along the trails toward Black Bass Lake it became very low and very wet. The ferns were amazing in this area and it smelled so rich - so fertile.
After draining the last of my bladder I looked down at my watch and realized three hours had passed. I was so deep in thought, I hadn't noticed time pass. I began to watch the trail signs and made my way back to toward the visitor center and the observation tower. The tower was so cool. It is 100 feet tall and use to be a fire tower.
On the way home I stopped at Lake Mille Lacs to eat a packed breakfast of chickpeas and romaine. Yum. I soaked my legs into the big round lake, walked around the shoreline trail and then was ready to head on home.
I feel so blessed to be able to run for hours, in beautiful places. I do not take it for granted. I've been on the other side and know too well what that feels like. For now, I'm enjoying fully the feeling of traipsing down the trail, enjoying God's gifts.
Let's hope that I can carry a bit of the serenity I was able to cultivate at Kathio into this next week!