Little cabin on the prairie

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.