i think i need to amend my top ten state parks list and make itasca 1 AND 2. i just spent five days there with my family and want to rave about this park even more.
i think it says a lot that the time i spent at the headwaters was minimal and didn’t make much of an impression on me. what made an impression? the trees, the bike paths, the hiking path, the big trees.
oh, and the BEAR i saw.
my sibs and i were biking to the swimming beach, when some bikers whooshed past us telling us there was a bear with cubs ahead. well, jane wanted to turn around, but dang if i wasn’t going to at least see a bear, amirite? so we slowly biked until we saw the bear, then turned around.
we also took the wilderness drive and saw the state’s largest white pine and state’s former largest red pine (it was the victim of a wind storm. the largest is now in the lost forty).
the tree was so big that my mom held onto her head with amazement. that same day we also checked out preacher’s grove where a bunch of old-growth red pines are, along with a bunch of pines that had blown over in some sort of wind storm that twisted them.
(my mom and aunt rae discussing weather patterns that may have caused the twisting.)
i tried out supping, but forgot my fin so it was no fun. then i went for a hike along the brower trail, which is GREAT. this was the sort of trail i was looking for in the black hills but couldn’t find.
some yellow ladyslippers just bloomed while i was out on the trail.
and other flora!
the bike trail was also great for running if you want to do hillwork (i did need to work on that, i guess. i prefer flat, but i couldn’t resist running in itasca). i went out for a 6-mile run on sunday night.
we stayed at bearpaw cabins/campground, which was between the headwaters and the lodge, so it was a nice, bikeable distance to both. we ate supper at the lodge a couple times, had breakfast there once, and had ice cream a couple times at the headwaters cafe.
i could’ve stayed another couple days at itasca and hiked some of the spurs and trails that were on the wilderness drive, biked some more, looked for more bears, put the fin on my SUP and really done some good paddling, gone for another hilly run.
still enamored by itasca!