40 acres of packed earth trails through woods and open prairie is only a short drive northwest of Minneapolis. Crow-Hassan Dog Off-Leash Area was designed for people with dogs and I own zero dogs. Still, I enjoy being in the same space as dogs. Each dog and their human is a unique pair. Some were in groups of three or four. All theses encounters were positive, brief, and interesting. Always on trails there is the question in my mind when approaching another hiker: Do I say hello or do I not? In Minnesota I think most people will say hello to people they don’t know as they pass on a trail, but not everyone is comfortable with this custom. I try to guess the other person’s mind, go with my gut instinct, and carry on. When a dog is involved it seems more obvious that saying hello is the right choice. Sometimes the dog makes the choice as it approaches me and I let it sniff my hand. The human often seems embarrassed at this, but truly I think it is a nice way to say hello.
If after walking these 3 miles of trails you are itching for more, crossing the street connects you to many more miles of trails in the Crow-Hassan Park Reserve. Usually when I stop at the dog park I am on my way to somewhere else and do not have the time. There is another parking area further south that I have used for longer walks in the past and that will be the topic of a future post.