My Local Adventures in Minneapolis and in Crow-Hassan State Park

The Minneapolis cityscape from the UoM campus.

Hello friends, I hope all is well. I haven’t done too much traveling this month, but I’ve kept busy by delving into my other hobbies. Mostly, i have been bicycling and playing ultimate frisbee. I also found a job! I’ll be a Recreation Specialist for Minneapolis Park and Rec. I’m happy to have a job, especially one where I can play with children. Other than that, I thought to myself recently that my friends from the other side of the world would maybe like to know what I am up to. So, I decided to write about my local adventures and what a Minneapolis nature girl does for fun. Here are a couple highlights from this Fall. 20131106-102618.jpg

The Greenway map of Minneapolis

As I said before, I’ve been biking a lot. One of my goals for this Fall was to learn the bike trails of Minneapolis and to use my car as little as possible. I’d like to say I accomplished my goal. I used my bicycle daily, either to bike to Bryn Mawr Park for pick-up ultimate frisbee, to Lake Calhoun to meet up with friends, or to Minneapolis to drop off job applications. From my house to these places, it usually took 40 minutes to over an hour to bike there; all thanks to the Greenways! I would also bike for pleasure. Here’s a funny story about one of my long bike rides. One morning, I decided to bike to Minnehaha Falls. It’s right off the Greenway and I hadn’t been there since I was a little kid. It’s almost 15 miles one way, so I packed myself a lunch and prepared for my morning/afternoon activity. I started off on the Cedar Lake Greenway and then took a right onto a smaller bike trail that joined up to the Midtown Greenway. It was a beautiful day, so it wasn’t surprising to see lots of people biking on the trails. About halfway through my ride, I pass a biker and heard someone say, “Hey! Do I know you?!” I kept biking, thinking this wasn’t directed to me. Eventually, this biker catches up to me and asks the same question. I look over to see an old classmate from the University of Oregon! Her name is Colette and we took film classes together. She told me she was on a cross-country road trip and she stopped in Minneapolis for only 5 days. Due to a lot of coincidences, our lives crossed and I couldn’t of been happier. I invited her to join me to Minnehaha Falls and then ended up giving her a sorta tour of Minneapolis’ bike trails. I spent the rest of the day with her, met some other Oregon transplants, and even went retro bowling at the Bryant Lake Bowling Alley (a must see if you are visiting the Twin Cities.) I’m glad to have given Colette a small dose of Minnesota’s charm and I wish her luck to the rest of her travels! I hope to see her again. 20131106-111823.jpg Minnehaha Falls

I could talk even more about the bike scene in Minneapolis, but instead I’ll share with you some of my other Fall highlights. In previous posts, I’ve talked about one of my other favorite hobbies: hiking. There are many great hiking trails near the Twin Cities and one of my favorites during the Fall season is Crow-Hassan State Park. This park is mainly prairie and maple forest. During the Fall, the maple leaves turn into a vibrant yellow. Here are some shots of my hike.The maple stands. This photo doesn’t do it justice, the forest was completely yellow. Prairie. Minnesota was once covered in prairie, but due to colonization and fire repression, prairies have dwindled. Nowadays, there are conservation groups that do control burns to save our native prairie fields. The Crow-Hassan State Park is very large. Its hiking trails are perfect for cross country skiing during the winter. I hiked this trail with my brother a couple weeks ago. We always find interesting fauna and flora during our hikes. Jamie found a well preserved Gardner Snake. It seem to have died peacefully. We left it in plain sight, hoping that a naturalist or a child might find it. I found a Stinkhorn mushroom. I won’t go into detail about the Stinkhorn, but if you are interested, you should check them out. They smell bad and they have a funny structure. Other than that, we enjoyed the beautiful weather and hiked till our stomachs started to grumble.

I’ll summarize the rest of my Fall activities through my photos. I went to an apple orchard in Orono with my brother and sister (My sister just returned from China this month!). We picked Honey-crisp and Fireside apples hoping to make a pie, but they tasted so good that we ate them all instead!I carved pumpkins with my brother and sister (mine is to the left). Halloween was fun this year. We were dog sitting and were able to pass out candy to children. We then walked the dogs through the neighborhood and witnessed the Halloween tradition of groups of children running from house to house yelling, “Trick or Treat!!” For my international friends, when you’re a child on Halloween, you dress up and run around your neighborhood asking for candy. When you knock on the door, you must say, “trick-or-treat” and then the person gives you candy. Fun, right? The next day, Colleen (my sister) and I went to a Halloween party. I dressed up as Amelia Earhart and Colleen dressed up as an archer. Funny enough, I met two people at the party who were Oregon transplants. We had mutual friends from Eugene, OR. One of them I even recognized because I went to one of his performances at a friends party. What a small world.Last, but not least, Colleen and I went to a kung fu demonstration. Colleen even participated in a short kung fu training. Master Beng lives in the Wu Dong mountains in central China and travels to the USA to spread the good word of internal kung fu. I really enjoyed my time watching Master Beng and the local kung fu artists.

Well, that’s my Fall in a nutshell. This morning, there was snow on the ground and I can tell that Winter is almost here. I’ll be hanging up my bike soon, which is sad, but now I get to pull out my snow shoes! I’m also going to be apart of a Broomball team, so I’ll be keeping myself busy. In a week, I’ll be flying to San Francisco for my older sister’s wedding. I’ll be traveling for two weeks. One week in SF and the other week in Los Angeles. I’ll tell you all about it in my next post.

Till then,

-Molly

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