I was hesitant at first to tell many people about my plans to run every trail in every state park. The idea is grand and how often to we actually hit the mark when we shoot high? Well, I’m happy to say we are well on our way to making this one happen.
We started back in April with a trip to St. Croix State Park and last visited Camden State Park on July 14th. In between we have visited 25 other parks and I have run a total of 385 miles in those parks. The kids have had amazing adventures and we have had wonderful times as a family in the cozy camper. I can see how some people are drawn to the idea of living in an RV. It’s pretty rad.
We’ve seen Prickly Pear Cactus and a Bison herd at Blue Mounds State Park in far southwestern Minnesota, I’ve had two black bear encounters while running at Zippel Bay State Park (Lake of the Woods) and Hayes Lake State Park (near Roseau), Showy Lady Slippers at Lake Bronson State Park, true back country trails at Bear Head Lake State Park (Ely), some of the last known original (never plowed) prairie in Kilen Woods State Park, and I was almost carried away by hoards of deer flies at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park. And we are not even half way done yet!
Up next I have a solo trip to Moose Lake and Jay Cooke state parks and then on August 6th the kids an I head to Itasca State Park for eight days and plan to visit LaSalle State Rec Area and Lake Bemidji State Park while there. Then, the grand daddy of them all: the North Shore! Starting August 26th we will stay at Temperance River State Park as our base camp for 11 days while we tackle all eight state parks on the North Shore. I will have to average about 15 miles per day to complete all eight. If I throw in a rest day or two, the average will be closer to 20 miles per day of running.
After the North Shore trip, I should be able to complete the remaining parks by the end of November. That’s the goal-every trail in every state park by the end of the year.
This project has given me a new appreciation for the great state of Minnesota but more importantly it has given me a greater appreciation for my children and the incredible role Kathryn played in shaping each one of them. I see elements of her character in them and I know she is smiling along with us as we tackle this project.