Monday, August 22, 2022

The Sibley Woods


If this were a blog followed avidly by millions, perhaps I would hesitate in telling you about my family's unanimously favorite trail in Saint Minneapolis. I wouldn't want this trail, which was typically quiet this late morning, even on one of the most brilliant late Summer Sundays of the year, to become buried under astonished admirers.

Luckily my readership is so tiny that I don't, on the other hand, even have to bother with the details of the location of this trail because you probably already know it, or it wouldn't be relevant to you out where you live a thousand miles away. Nevertheless I will say anyway that this trail is along the Minnesota River, in Mendota, which, curiously, is pretty much the first neighborhood of Saint Minneapolis and yet somehow never developed beyond that auspicious marker the first Governor of the State set down 170 years ago. 

Where one parks, one will find the first stone house of Minnesota, that Governor's, and something curiously like a small town nestled along the railroad tracks that divide off our trail below.

It is the best trail even if it takes less than two miles walking it downstream, for it to disappear into muddy, impassable bush.

As I usually go there with my dear wife, I don't take pictures, and so have none for you. Maybe one day...

And what makes this trail so lovely?

It winds through the woodlands, never ruining the surprise of the trail ahead by giving long, predicting views of it, but also never closing off your view except in extreme, exciting moments as one might walk a brief tunnel of greenery. One makes progress without having to try to. Vistas change relentlessly, with something new and surprising around every bend. Skirting a Rivers edge the trail regularly opens onto views of the equally historic and wildish Pike Island across the silver and ever fascinating water, but also our trail plunges us into tumbles of falling woodlands, haunted swamps, and astonishing fairy glens. It really is everything I like in a trail: closed and dense, constantly changing, wide and vast, mysterious, tricky and broad and simple.

We saw herons. A bald eagle. Squirrels. Wee birds. A mushroom. More mushrooms. A burrow of the Wee Free Men, a city for beavers, secret passages, the spirit world, imaginary leafs, the golden hoard of a sleeping dragon, and some trees.

It's a nice place to hike.

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