“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals” – Henry David Thoreau
- Distance: 3.o miles
- Difficulty: Easy
- Terrain: Woodland floodplains
- Wildlife Spotted: Turkey
My second official hiking club trail was Fort Snelling’s Pike Island trail. The trail itself is approximately a three mile loop along the outskirts of Pike Island. In order to reach the trail head you must drive through the park until you are almost directly under the Snelling-Mendota Bridge, which, incidentally is the highlight of the hike. It was under this bridge that I was struck with determination and decided to complete the 68 hikes before I turn 30.
The trail itself was nothing spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a proud Minnesotan, through and through. Home of 10,000 lakes, Paul Bunyan, Spam, the late Prince, and of course the, “Ya you betchas!”. I was the easy target and the butt of many jokes from friends throughout college (let’s be honest fellow Minnesotans, we secretly love it). At the end of the day though, floodplains can be quite boring.
Figuring I must be missing something, I attempted to navigate my way down to the river bank, hoping to find some hidden gem. I stepped down towards the water confidently, but quickly found myself in a panic, my mind conjuring up images of quicksand. My brain scanned every episode of Xena: Warrior Princess and Beast Master from my childhood, trying desperately to remember how to escape this deadly sand. That’s when I remembered that oftentimes, and especially in Minnesota, silt lines riverbanks. I stopped sliding towards the water after what felt like an eternity and assessed the situation. I tucked my tail between my legs and scrambled back up towards safety. Nope. Definitely no hidden gem.
I went swiftly on my way, shaking the excess mud off of my shoes as I walked, resembling a character straight out of Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks. I made it back to my car without further incident, only stopping twice to snap some pictures.