Now that I have enjoyed another #optoutside, I can start thinking about where I’ll go next year to celebrate the fourth annual event. I have a whole year to plan, and you have a whole year to wait. In the meantime, do get outside whenever possible and enjoy what nature has to offer to each of us. And, whenever possible, share the experience with others. And, don’t be afraid to look at things a little differently.
Correction: I have mis-identified the Kettle River as the St. Croix River, sorry for any confusion.
The Kettle River is one of several scenic rivers in Minnesota. From it’s humble beginnings to where it meets up with the St. Croix River, it offers many miles of boating, fishing and hiking. The section of the river that runs through Banning State Park has peaceful, calm areas, as seen looking upriver from the access point. But, as the signs warns, up ahead are challenging rapids.
Well, in it’s own way, yes, and it has lots of rocks. Having been a quarry, there is evidence of quarrying activity everywhere. There are piles of rock scattered about which are called spall piles, and larger rocks make for bigger piles and you can spot the grooves which are the marks of the churn drills. Although I didn’t see any running water above the cliff, there must be a lot of seepage to create the ice falls. A brief moment of sunshine aided me in capturing the imprint of the small trees near the rock face.
My third annual opting out for Black Friday took me to Banning State Park, which is about 60 miles south of Duluth, in Minnesota. I’ve driven by the entrance to this park numerous times on my trips to and from Duluth. On Black Friday, access to all Minnesota state parks is free, so off I went exploring.
One of the things that makes Banning a worthy destination is it’s history as a sandstone quarry. The stone was used in many buildings in Minnesota and elsewhere. To help you learn a bit about this history, I’m sharing images of the signs along the Quarry Loop Self Guided Trail. As you walk the trail, reading the signs and trail pamphlet, you are serenaded by the sound of the Kettle River running nearby.
Up next: rocks!