John A. Latch State Park


Parks & Geology

If you are looking for a tough (but quick) hike in southern Minnesota, look no further than John A. Latsch State Park. Located just 12 miles northwest of Winona, the roadside park functions primarily as a wayside on U.S. Route 61, which runs between the Mississippi River and the base of three steep bluffs. The […]

October 5, 2020

Sunflowers and Bittersweet Luck


Parks & Geology

My grandfather is dying. They say six months if we’re lucky. I have known death all my life though this is the first time I have had advanced notice. Maybe it’s because I am his namesake. For whatever reason, I am allotted borrowed time. Time to ask him about every photo he has hanging on […]

August 25, 2020

Safari North Wildlife Park


Parks & Geology

When I was asked to check out the Safari North Wildlife Park in Brainerd, I jumped at the chance. First, I have spent my entire life passing through Brainerd and I had no idea something so cool would be hiding in plain sight (I mean, besides Paul and Babe), and second, I will look for […]

August 11, 2020

Mantrap Valley Conservation Club (MVCC)


Historical & Museum, Parks & Geology

Growing up in Minnesota, I spent most of my time in the Northwoods. My parents were adamant about safety, education, and conservation. We were required to take DNR courses on things like lawful hunting and fishing, and recreational vehicle and firearm safety. Enter, Mantrap Valley Conservation Club and Auxiliary. The MVCC is a favorite in […]

July 25, 2020

Afton Alps


Entertainment, Food & Drink, Parks & Geology

During the winter, social media feeds are filled with two groups of people, those that have mastered skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, and other cold-weather endeavors with the smiles and hordes of gear to prove it, and those that stay inside. There isn’t often a medium. I find myself to be someone who falls in the […]

February 2, 2020

Paul Bunyan State Forest


Parks & Geology, Paul Bunyan

I have to be honest, The Paul Bunyan State Forest is one of my all-time favorite places in Minnesota. Let me tell you why. This area, outside Park Rapids, is near and dear to me for several reasons but most notably because it is where I, a self-professed Paul Bunyan expert, believe the idea for […]

October 5, 2019

The Lost 40


Parks & Geology

Have you heard of The Lost 40?  Located in the Chippewa National Forest in the town of Northome, the Lost 40 Scientific and Natural Area (SNA), or simply “The Lost 40″ is a nature preserve that is unlike anywhere you have seen in the Midwest.  Let me give a bit of history;  In the late […]

September 27, 2019

Finland Campground


Parks & Geology

If you plan on heading up to the North Shore and are looking for a place to stay, check out the Finland Campground. The secluded oasis is seven miles from the very popular (and beautiful) Tettegouche State Park and Lake Superior Hiking Trail. The location alone is worth a drive through. Tucked into the woods […]

September 2, 2019

Great Lakes Aquarium


Parks & Geology

If you are going to be in or passing through Duluth anytime soon, make sure to spend some time at the Great Lakes Aquarium. Previously known as Lake Superior Center, Great Lakes Aquarium has been part of the Duluth Waterfront since 2000. From many vantage points throughout the building, you can catch a view of […]

August 1, 2019

Brookside Boathouse


Parks & Geology

Have you ever tried kayaking or canoeing? How about stand up paddle boarding or hamboarding? What about rock climbing? If not, why? What if I told you, you could try all those things without the added expense of buying equipment, having the means to store it, or paying for an expert to show you. Well, […]

May 25, 2019

Myre-Big Island State Park


Parks & Geology

The next stop during the #MNGFO2019 was Myre-Big Island State Park in Albert Lea. Just a stone’s throw from the Downtown area, the park has 8 miles of shoreline on Albert Lea Lake making it a great place to rent a canoe and head out on the water. I myself am more into hiking so […]

May 16, 2019

National Eagle Center


Historical & Museum, Parks & Geology

If you are looking for a day trip away from the city, I suggest planning a trip to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. Beginning in 1989, the now-center started as EagleWatch, Inc. as a group of volunteers sharing with visitors to Wabasha views of wintering bald eagles from an outdoor observation deck along the […]

April 23, 2019

Quarry Hill Nature Center


Parks & Geology

Can I just tell you how much I love the Quarry Hill Park and Nature Center in Rochester? The park was originally purchased by the Rochester State Hospital in the 1870s. In 1882, a cave was hand-carved to serve as a cellar for the storage of many vegetables grown on the State Hospital farm. Quarry […]

March 11, 2019

Snowmobiling in Minnesota


Parks & Geology

One of the best parts of having a record snowfall is fresh powder for the snowmobile trails. Snowmobiling is a rite of passage in Minnesota – it certainly was for me. Minnesota has snowmobile trails in nearly every county of the state, including 224 miles in Hennepin County, 369 miles in Dakota County and 208 […]

February 26, 2019

Whitewater State Park


Parks & Geology

Whitewater State Park is in Altura and preserves a stretch of the Whitewater River. The Dakota named the river Whitewater because it turned milky white in the spring as high water eroded light-colored clay deposits along its banks. Surrounded by rocky bluffs, this secluded park seems to pop out from nowhere. It is located in […]

February 16, 2019

An Ode to Minnesota Weather


Parks & Geology

An Ode to Minnesota Weather Minnesota 60 above zero: Floridians turn on the heat. People in Minnesota plant gardens. 50 above zero: Californians shiver uncontrollably. People in Duluth sunbathe. 40 above zero: Italian & English cars won’t start. People in Minnesota drive with the windows down. 32 above zero: Distilled water freezes. The water in […]

February 7, 2019

Nemadji State Forest


Parks & Geology

Winter isn’t all bad. Take the beauty of the Nemadji State Forest for example. Established in 1935 and part of the western Great Lakes forests (WWF Classification), Nemadji is located in northeastern Pine and southeastern Carlton counties along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. The northern third of the forest drains into the Lake Superior Basin-Nemadji River Watershed, […]

January 28, 2019

Ice Climbing at Robinson Quarry Ice Park


Parks & Geology

This next addition to the #mnbucketlist is NOT for the faint of heart. Ice climbing is when you ascend ice formations like that of the frozen falls at Robinson Quarry Ice Park in Sandstone. Because of the incredible rock formations, Sandstone is a great place for mixed climbing where the ascent involves both ice climbing […]

January 8, 2019

Banning State Park


Parks & Geology

Banning State Park is located directly off Interstate 35. Stretched along 10 miles of the Kettle River near Sandstone in Pine County, the park is known for camping, picnicking, and cross-country skiing. It is a favorite for those seeking beautiful trails, however, there is also quite a lot of history to soak in such as […]

November 11, 2018