St. Croix State Park

This park is HUGE compared to other Minnesota state parks. At 33,895 acres (13,717 ha) it is the largest Minnesota state park. I was driving there on a Friday afternoon. I knew it would be a challenge to get there before dark. When I exited the freeway in the town of Hinkley, I thought I had a chance. 15 miles (24 km) later when I drove through the park entrance, there was still a little bit of light left. The campground, however, is about 6 miles (10 km) from the park entrance. I set up my tent in the dark with the help of the lights I brought with me and the lights of the neighboring campers also setting up their campsites in the dark.

This walk was October 9 and 10, 2021. Seasons do change fast in Minnesota, but this was over a month ago. Now there is snow on the ground. I wonder how the experience of this park is different in the winter? I’d like to find out.

Time is speeding by so fast. It surprised me when I sat down to write this that so much time had gone by.

That same weekend I walked with a friend who used to go to this park a lot with her family when she was a child. I wonder how it has changed since then? There are a lot of historical markers and informational signs here. Lots of history documented. In the hours I spent walking here I did think about others who walked along the same path in the past and will walk in the future. I thought about my friend’s family having their family vacation. I thought about the boy scouts from the 1930’s who are pictured on that plaque on the rock. I did not see much documentation regarding the first people to live in this area. I’d love to learn more about what this area means to the Dakota and/or Ojibwe people. I thought about the families of many colors that I saw enjoying the trails and horseback riding, creating the memories that the future will reminisce.

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