William O’Brien State Park

This Minnesota State Park is just a little bit too far north to be part of the Twin Cities Metro Area. It is near the towns of Scandia and Marine-On-St. Croix. The St. Croix river is the border with Wisconsin in this area and this park has the river as its eastern boundary. In the past I have taken advantage of the canoe rental companies that will transport you and a canoe from here upriver to Taylor’s Falls and then collect your canoe after a pleasant float down the river.

Currently, it is late Fall and you would have to be bundled pretty warmly for a float down the river to be pleasant! We had a stretch of unusually warm weather last week, but now it is back to normal. This walk was in late October. I enjoyed a long walk on the trails that are on the other side of Highway 95 from the river. I was bundled an appropriate amount: fleece headband over the ears and a wool hat. Turtleneck, sweatshirt, coat, leggings, jeans, wool socks, hiking boots, mittens, and a mask.

At the beginning of my walk I marvelled at how I was walking outside in the snow, completely comfortable. I was glad to have the mask to keep my face warm. Eventually though, it became wet from the moisture in my breath and I started using my turtleneck to cover the lower half of my face. I pulled it up when passing someone, but most of the time I just breathed in the crisp air. This was such a nurturing walk. At one point I overheard another walker talking on a phone, “Yes, it’s 29 degrees and snowing, but it is nice to get out of the house”. Amen to that!

This is a well used, spacious park. There is more than enough room for everyone to have their own space to walk and enjoy.

This morning there is about 3 inches of fresh snow on the ground. Two days ago it was warm enough for short sleeves. Hats and mittens were needed on this walk the week before that. Welcome to Minnesota. I hope your day is the best possible day, wherever you happen to be.

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