A couple of weekends ago, I took a trip to Scenic State Park near Bigfork, which is about 35 miles north of Grand Rapids or 123 miles north of Brainerd. Other than satisfying a desire to travel deep into the coniferous forests of northeastern Minnesota, there wasn’t really a particular reason why I chose to go to Scenic out of all the state parks in the area. I just looked at a map of all the state parks in Minnesota, read that Scenic was noted for having a virgin pine forest, and decided to take off from there. Scenic became the 10th Minnesota state park that I have visited.
Before I share some photos, there was something else I’ve been meaning to write. While I went to Scenic State Park two weekends ago, I went to the Twin Cities to visit family three weekends ago. Along the way, I stopped in at the University of Minnesota bookstore in Coffman Memorial Union. My intention in going there was to see the selection of international newspapers and magazines available for sale. What I wanted to get was something like Der Spiegel, which was one of the magazines clearly pictured on the newspapers, journals, and periodicals portion of the bookstore’s website.
It turned out that the selection had been pared down for the summer, and there weren’t many international magazines available. There was, however, a copy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a newspaper from Frankfurt. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but I made sure to buy it anyway since it was the only German-language publication that I could find.
But that wasn’t the best part, since I also found a really interesting book in the linguistics section called The Languages of the World. Written by Kenneth Katzner, it’s a very handy reference book for anybody who has a casual interest in languages like me. The book covers virtually all of the languages spoken in the world today by devoting about two pages (sometimes more, sometimes less) to covering such aspects of a particular language as which groups of people speak it, where it is spoken, what "family" it belongs to, what (if any) words it has given English, and any other tidbits or quirks worth mentioning. Each language's description also contains a sample piece of literature in the original language and script followed by an English translation and, if neccessary, a transliteration. Click here to view the book’s purchasing page at Amazon.com, or click here to read a completely random excerpt from the AmazonOnlineReader. Hint: clicking the "surprise me" link allows you to continually see random excerpts.
Back to Scenic State Park, here are some photos that I took. I really enjoy the photos I was able to get, but I am disappointed that two of the park’s attractions that I really wanted to see – the interpretive bog walk and soaring fire tower – were closed indefinitely due to safety concerns. Judging by the shape the bog walk’s boardwalk was in, it will take a massive influx of monies from St. Paul to get either attraction opened again.
Still, I would entitle my trip "finding Minnesota’s state symbols," since I got the chance to see the three big ones all within close proximity to each other:
State Bird: Common Loon (Gavia immer)
State Flower: Showy Lady Slipper (Cypripedium reginae)
This is Sandwick Lake
This is Coon Lake - the closed down fire tower is visible high above the trees
I saw three boats out on Sandwick and Coon Lakes (they connect with each other)
I caught a spider building an elaborate web above Coon Lake
This butterfly was on the shore of Coon Lake
Scenic State Park is the place to go to see conifers of all varities - here is a mass of ceder trees
Besides the Showy Lady Slipper, there were a lot of other wildflowers in bloom
This frog was "hiding" along the path leading to the bog walk - perhaps it was hiding from the snake I later saw in the area slithering along the damp, mossy ground
I don't know what flowers these are, but they looked nice
This flower was also pretty, and it had a bee on the back of it
The bog walk isn't a very pretty sight, however
All of the highways near Bigfork look like this - a lot of hills and conifers but very few signs of civilization
There's a scenic former open-pit mine right in the middle of downtown Nashwauk
Sandy Lake near McGregor was an important gateway to the Mississippi River for the Ojibwe who once lived in the area
A couple people were enjoying a Sunday evening out on the water