The weather was mild and sunny last week. While others were COVID pool partying in the Ozarks, StevetheBikeGuy and I selected a Moderate hiking trail at Ha Ha Tonka State Park and headed for the hills and woods.
Ha Ha Tonka, meaning laughing waters, has many trails, some which wind around castle ruins. Other trails go through the forest and rock formations.
Trails vary in difficulty from Easy to Moderate, to Rugged.
We chose the Spring Trail, a 1.5/3.0 mile loop which goes through forests with varying shade, through sunny, rocky terrain and back again.
Some areas have good lookouts far below on the forest floor. Other sections had some stairs to aid in steep climbing portions of the trail.
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Eagle Mountain is the highest natural point in Minnesota, United States, at 2,301 feet. It is in northern Cook County, in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Superior National Forest in the Misquah Hills, northwest of Grand Marais. It is a Minnesota State Historic Site.
Eagle Mountain is only about 15 miles (24 km) from Minnesota’s lowest elevation, Lake Superior, at 600 feet/ It is part of the Canadian Shield. Confusingly, there is another, much shorter, peak named Eagle Mountain in northern Minnesota. The shorter peak is part of the Lutsen Mountains ski resort.
The hike to the summit can be made in about two and a half hours. The distance to the peak is about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) with an elevation gain of 550 feet (168 m). The trail is rocky and moderately strenuous. Whale Lake is about halfway along the trail and offers two campsites to hikers. The peak of the mountain is marked with a plaque.
Permits are required because portions of this hike enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Self-issued permits are available at any Superior National Forest ranger station or at the trailhead. Instructions and the permit can usually be found at the trailhead kiosk.
Among the highest natural points (highpoints) in each U.S. state, Eagle Mountain ranks 37th. (wiki)
Take a meandering route through Missouri and into northern Arkansas to enjoy scenery that changes with the seasons. The Ozark Mountains span four states and consist of a plateau that covers 50,000 square miles. There’s plenty of hiking, rivers, lakes, and caves interspaced amongst the wilderness areas, making for a great road trip adventure with both scenery and historical destinations.
Years ago, I traveled this route as part of an assignment that involved researching why people live in particular areas. Life in these parts is slow-paced, almost reflective. What I found during the road trip was that a good many people choose to live in this area for the lifestyle; they value the slower pace and the access to nature and its outdoor activities. It’s a pleasant drive through a peaceful and scenic area when you follow the rolling hills from Osage Beach, Missouri, to Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Although a bit west of what is considered the tradition Midwest, Petrified Forest National Park is an American national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, park covers about 230 square miles, encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands.
The Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees that lived in the Late Triassic Epoch. The sediments containing the fossil logs are part of the widespread and colorful Chinle Formation, from which the Painted Desert gets its name.
The park’s seven maintained hiking trails, some paved, vary in length from less than 0.5 miles (0.8 km) to nearly 3 miles. These named trails are Painted Desert Rim, Puerco Pueblo, Blue Mesa, Crystal Forest, Giant Logs, Long Logs, and Agate House. Hikers and backpackers may also visit the park’s wilderness areas.
Panorama of shortgrass prairie near Dry Wash in the southern section of the park.
Some of the larger animals roaming the grasslands include pronghorns, black-tailed jackrabbits (hares), Gunnison’s prairie dogs, coyotes, bobcats and foxes. Bobcats and bullsnakes hunt smaller animals, such as deer mice and white-tailed antelope squirrels in the park’s riparian zones. More than 16 kinds of lizards and snakes live in various habitats in the park.
Here in Michigan when the weather is nice, everyone is outside enjoying it. Whether it be hiking, biking, swimming, fishing or what other activity, Michiganders love to capitalize on favorable weather. Here are 5 hikes in Michigan that you shouldn’t miss out on in 2020!
5 Hikes in Michigan for 2020
Empire Bluff Trail – Sleeping Bear Dunes
Chapel Beach – Pictured Rocks Lakeshore
Lake of the Clouds – Ontonagon Area
Hogback Mountain – Marquette
Arch Rock – Mackinac Island
Empire Bluff Trail – Sleeping Bear Dunes
Welcome to Sleeping Bear Dunes! One of Michigan’s premiere destinations. The Empire Bluff Trail at Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of the best you will find and is incredibly rewarding. Not only are the views outstanding, this hike is very easy! Clocking in at only 1.5 miles round trip, this hike is worth its weight in gold. This trail will get very busy during summer season so plan wisely.
Chapel Beach Loop – Pictured Rocks Lakeshore
Apart of the Pictured Rock National Lakeshore, is the Chapel Beach Loop. What makes the Chapel Beach Loop such a great trail is the scenery on the trail and the end destination. The trail has an abundance of plant variety as well as easy changing terrain. As scenic as the hike is in, the cream rises to the top at the end. Chapel Beach is a pristine beach complemented by a lovely chapel beach lookout point. You won’t be dissapointed.