Monday, May 25, 2015

FIELD TRIP: Minnehaha Falls Regional Park, Minneapolis, MN - May 2015



I went to Minneapolis for a work trip in May and took advantage of a couple of free days to explore the outdoor spaces nearby.

The first place I'm writing about is the Minnehaha Falls Regional Park. It was a quick 25-minute trip south on the Blue Line from where I was staying (Marriott City Center) for $1.75. I was able to enjoy the park for a couple of hours and then return back downtown on the same ticket because you get a free transfer within 2.5 hours of purchase.

Here's where it is:



Right at the park entrance there is a restaurant and bathrooms. The falls are right near the entrance so it would be a good place to go with small children or others who couldn't walk far (however there are many stairs to get down to the base of the falls).

Most of the waterfalls in Southern California are a trickle right now because of the drought so it was nice to be near falls and the creek.


After passing the falls I continued on south towards the Mississippi River. I walked on the east side of the creek and everything was very green, but I didn't notice many wildflowers.




There were quite a few people on the trail at first, but as I got closer to the Mississippi it thinned out and when I reached the river I was the only person on the trail. It was so quiet! The only other time I'd been to the Mississippi was the last time I was in Minneapolis in 2010 but it was March so snowy and cold. I had no idea there would be a sandy beach on the banks of the river and I wished I'd brought my bathing suit!


As I crossed over a bridge to walk back north on the west side of the creek I saw these orange shallow caves that appeared to be made of sand. I'd never seen anything like it. Just running a finger over the surface caused grains to dislodge. They were so clearly eroding. I suppose they must have been sandstone. You can see in these photos the orange sand spilling out of the cave.



On this side of the creek there were quite a few wildflowers.

Beardtongue of some sort (Genus Penstemon)

Violet


At one point there was a wooden walkway over large patches of marsh marigolds. Beautiful!




Marsh-marigold (Caltha palustris)
Saw this strange orange goo as well. I think it may be a fungus called "quince rust".


What a delightful few hours out in nature. Highly recommended - especially in the spring.

Check out my Minnesota Flickr set for more photos from my trip.







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