Saturday, June 6, 2009

An Anniverary Day Bike Ride, Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Wanting to do some canoeing and biking we decided to drive down to Lebanon Hills Regional Park. There we could also check out the campground, for future visits and for a picnic. As it was our 38th anniversary. Jenny, our daughter, accompanied us, both to share the day with us and to keep us from getting lost.
Now it's a good idea to know where you are going so I did some research and wrote down the highway that a 35 or a 36? Maybe I should have worn my bifocals when I was sitting at the computer? Anyway, after a few wrong turns and a few extra miles we finally found the park.
Stopping at the visitor center we talked with the rangers and got directions to the bike trails and campground. It turns out the bike trails are extreme mountain bike trails, not what we were looking for. However the campground sounded like a great place for a future visit.
As soon as we turned into the campground, we liked the place. The host told us about the full hook up and electric only sites and so we drove around and looked at both loops. Everything was so dry, this part of Minnesota is in a drought, but the sites were large and the parks campground is the kind of setting we prefer! An easy and paved bike trail parallels the road so we decided this is the place for our next visit.
Leaving there we drove to a small lake and had our picnic. We sat along the lake and watched the bluegills, fighting for spawning beds. We walked onto a small dock where we got a much closer look at the fish. Each bed was claimed by a larger fish and it seemed like it was a never ending battle as the female would chase fish after fish away from her nest.
Returning to the truck we drove to Oak Park, where we unloaded the bikes and set off for the Highline Bike Trail. The trail started with a severe downhill and then traveled north along the road. At first it wasn't really what we had hoped for but after crossing a busy street it turned and we rode through a corridor of trees and small lakes. A much more relaxed and peaceful setting.
That last hill punished us when we returned and we were both tired but happy for the ride as we loaded the bikes to return home. It felt good to finally get some exercise. On the way home Jenny pointed out a new trail along the Mississippi River. A good day. Clear skies.

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