C and I took advantage of a rare break in childcare to spend some time at Afton State Park. This state park is next to the St. Croix (pronounced similar to Croy) River. Seeing as it was a week day the crowds were absent. We only realized our luck when a couple of close friends of ours mentioned just how crowded this particular state park gets on the weekends.
I was unsure how it would be and was pleasantly surprised as it was a beautiful place that we were able to enjoy nearly to ourselves. Okay, maybe not, but it seemed that way at times. The wildlife is as expected a couple of deer, a small variety of birds, small mammals and even a few ‘creepy crawlies’ as some might say.
I will say that the trails we took included steep inclines and stairs so not overly stroller friendly. With that in mind there were some nice views of the area and a lookout point over St. Croix. We very much enjoyed the trails and little surprises along the way. I will admit that it was easy to see at this time where the creeks and streams were supposed to be but just weren’t flowing.
We decided to change directions only to come upon a massive prairie restoration area of the park. It had the native perennial wildflowers that we’ve become accustomed to in the restoration areas of the parks great and small we have visited. I also noted the conifers being planted. Some protected from the deer by large tubes. At the other side was a bench to enjoy a snack and continue conversation. That bench was near an old shelter and rock gate entrance which I suspect it is from the New Deal Era of park service history.
After our snack we chose the trail that is shared between horse riders and walkers. I think it was my favorite path of the park. As you might have noticed I love tree lined paths especially for pines and other conifers. It to me felt the most peaceful of the park. My suspicion is that other visitors will find their own peaceful place in one of the other areas like the beach, the middle of the prairie or even the middle of the hilly terrain.
We ended our walk near the Afton Alps Ski area. This area of the park had lovely streams and woodland areas. The stream flowed gently, but we stayed out of the water as usual. It was nice to see actual running water again.
I very much liked this park. This is definitely a park for off peak hour visiting with others that are willing or able to climb up the path. There are other pathways, but I am not able to speak for them as this was our first visit.
Bye for now.