This past January, in the middle of freezing temperatures and feet of snow, we were planning a spring trip to a Minnesota state park. We decided that mid-April would be a perfect time to go to the prairie lands of western Minnesota and enjoy a warm sunny weekend with the opportunity to photograph early wildflowers. Of course, this past winter has been harder and longer than usual, and the snow has only recently melted. So it wasn’t altogether a major surprise when we drove to Lac qui Parle State Park on Friday night and arrived in the middle of a snow squall. The snow continued throughout the night and into the morning, with the winds howling around our little camper cabin. As “frightful” as it was outside, we were warm and snug on the bluff overlooking Lac qui Parle Lake, which is a broadening of the Minnesota River. The winds continued throughout the day Saturday, blowing the clouds across the prairie sky. Eventually the front passed us by early Sunday morning and we awoke to blue skies and warmer temperatures. Lac qui Parle was named by French explorers who lived with the Dakota Indians and means the “lake that speaks.” This weekend the area was “speaking” with a plethora of pelicans, geese, ducks, and cormorants. We were even treated to the sighting of a coyote and the olfactory “sighting” of a skunk. With the recent spring snowmelt the lake has flooded the lowlands and even closed some of the roads in the area. However, we were still able to explore this part of the state that borders South Dakota, meet some fascinating people who shared their knowledge and history of the prairie and the area, and brush up on the history of the fur-traders and missionaries that settled here with the Dakotas in the early 1800’s. We will certainly return to this wonderful state park and prairie land again, perhaps in the fall when over 150,000 Canada geese migrate through the area. Although our original plans and expectations did not come to fruition, we had a truly wonderful and enjoyable weekend.
Merry Christmas spring style. I see a table in the front yard for a picnic. I am not clear, was this your cabin? It definetly is priarie style. Did you get to the salt marsh? I look forward to the KS priaries this summer. Still fond of your simplicity.
Yes, the table you see was in front of our little cabin. Must admit that we didn’t use the table — waiting for a warmer visit and a clear sky with the sight of a zillion stars. Next time….
Minnesota has many wonderful state parks. Have you ever been to the Jeffers Petroglyphs? Not a state park but an amazing historical and sacred site!
In the five years I’ve lived in Minnesota, I’ve found each state park to be special in its own way. I haven’t been to the petroglyphs yet although I was just reading about them this past week. They’re now on my list. Thanks for the recommendation!