Sunday, July 28, 2013

Being a tourist

On my trip to Rochester and back last week, I passed several places along the road that I wanted to investigate further.  I had packed a lunch last night, so I headed out early to visit a couple of them.  Only problem was, when I got up, my left ankle was giving me fits.  How in the world does a person get what feels like a sprained ankle while they’re asleep?  That painful limp persisted all day, so it put a damper on some of my plans.

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First up was Crane Meadows NWR down near Little Falls, MN.  It turned out that the only public access to this refuge at this time of the year is the 3.7 mile hiking trail along the Platte River.

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That wasn’t going to work for me today, but I did make it to the first overlook of the Platte.  This refuge doesn’t have a wildlife drive, so I was a bit disappointed considering I couldn’t walk very far.  I’d driven about 120 miles to get here, so now what to do?


I plugged the address for Sherburne NWR into Jack-in-the-Box, and found out it was a further 54 miles down the road.  What the heck!  I’d come this far, so I might as well drive another hour to see what this refuge had to offer.


I’m very glad I did.  There’s a seven mile wildlife drive on this refuge, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Even though it’s not that far as the crow flies from Tamarac, the habitat is quite a bit different.


This refuge is all about wetlands, not the big lakes that Tamarac has.  They do have a few things in common though.


Bald eagles and trumpeter swans nest here just as they do at Tamarac.  This young bald eagle was occasionally screeching, as it waited for its parents to come feed it.  It’s about ready to be out on its own very soon.

IMG_9224It took me a couple of hours to do that seven mile wildlife drive.  It was the middle of the day, and not the best time to see wildlife, but I enjoyed my tour non the less. 

IMG_3934There is a lot more native prairie land on this refuge, and the blooming prairie flowers were vibrant.  I could just envision the first settlers coming to this area and being in awe of the beauty.


I was surprised by the number of overlooks provided for visitors.  I’m guessing there’s an overlook for almost every mile of the wildlife drive.  I probably encountered about a half a dozen other vehicles along the route.  It was good to see people out taking advantage of this peaceful drive.


Since it’s almost August, many of the wildflowers are sending their seeds out for the next generation.  Life marches on.  It’s all a grand circle, isn’t it?

As I headed back north, I stopped in Little Falls and had another little adventure.  I’ll save what happened there for tomorrow’s post.  Sometimes being a tourist and going with the flow works out just right.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy