Summer road trip – Minnehaha Falls
Before we explore Minnehaha Falls, I must apologize. Well technically I don’t have to; however, considering I did not send out my blog post yesterday I probably should. As my pre-planning skills are still a little behind since chemo infused my brain with all the “forget everything before you remember them” cells, I am currently writing this while sitting in a hotel in our lovely capital of the USA. Yesterday was our travel day, and as we were traveling with Harley the service dog for the first time, life was a little chaotic. Being service trained in a small rural town is wayyyy different than the things we experienced yesterday… escalators, airplanes, trains, gaps between the train and sidewalk, revolving doors … he did fabulously and here we are!
Exploring your own backyard
Traveling is an important thing, both for a service dog, and for our children. Traveling exposes us to so many things that we normally do not encounter on a given day. When we remember that children are watching us for how they should handle situations, exposing them to as many different scenarios as we can when they are young helps prepare them for the adults they will become.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean we have to load everybody up and trek halfway across the country. There are so many great opportunities right in our own backyard! However, if you’re anything like we were when our daughter was young, you get so busy with everyday life and activities that exploring your own backyard keeps getting put aside. Recently, Harley and I went on an adventure to one of my absolute favorite spots is off Highway 55 in Minneapolis … Minnehaha Falls.
In the early 2000’s, when hubby and I lived in the Cities, this was always a “Oh, we should really go there” type of statement. It’s a beautiful trek through some woodsy terrain, it has a great area to stop and wade in the water, and if you walk the trail all the way to the end there’s a lovely little beach you can sit on as the creek flows into the Mississippi River.
If you’re lucky, you can catch a fly fisherman, numerous people fishing, and maybe even a Blue Heron. There are many different aspects to the park including a dog park, and several historical buildings including the Minnehaha Princess Station, a Victorian train depot built in the 1870’s; the John H. Stevens house built in 1849; and the Longfellow House. Near the Falls there is an ice cream store, and a restaurant with outside seating. Time it just right and you’ll be able to enjoy music as well as you imbibe with your favorite drink and the crescendo of the Falls in the background adding to the rhythm.
Of course, the crowing attraction are the Falls themselves; which according to Wikipedia remain one of the most photographed sites in Minnesota.
This trip it was also suggested that I visit the Longfellow gardens, which are across the street from the park, but easily accessible via stairs leading down to the crosswalk crossings. The garden was a beautiful little oasis and prelude to the big park itself and to be honest, Harley and I only covered one section, which was hiking alongside the creek to the river.
The location of Minnehaha Falls is quite easy to get to. In fact, the light rail train runs very close, if not right across the street. Additionally, just down the road a piece Highways 55 and 62 merges together where Historic Fort Snelling sits, making another great backyard destination – and maybe a future post!
The day we went to the Falls, it was close to 90 degrees outside, but walking the trail it felt much cooler. Harley and I managed to put on 12,000 steps in two hours, and needless to say … I was beat! (Honestly, Harley was beat, but he doesn’t like to admit that I outwalked him so I’m letting him believe it was me.) As I already mentioned, we only made it through part of the park, so this is an adventure that can be a full day of playing outside! Just pack a picnic basket full of goodies and go ‘esploring to find your perfect spot!
There is no cost to enter the Minnehaha Falls park; however, there is a parking fee. There are also some different bicycle rentals if you’d rather take a surrey fringed ride on the paved trails.
Are we missing adventures?
While taking big adventures is always fun, ever since my diagnosis I have discovered just how much I love exploring my own backyard and finding little treasures. Minnehaha Falls isn’t so little, but the fact that I’ve never fully explored the park makes me quite sad. How many times do we walk by something, oblivious to its (or their) existence? Eye contact has always been iffy between people and these days its almost non-existent.
School violence is on the rise. Depression and suicide as well. Could it be coincidence? Could it be that because we walk right by people, never acknowledging that they are there because we are too busy preoccupied with our own lives, that we miss the adventure of making someone feel valued? How many other adventures do we miss because we don’t have the courage to step out of our box, our comfort zone, and be adventurous?
Cancer has done many things to me over the last two and a half years; and while you will never catch me saying it was a blessing in a disguise, I will admit that because my perspective has changed there are some things I don’t mind. I don’t necessarily mind that I’m different than pre-cancer. I don’t necessarily mind that post-cancer I have talked to and enjoyed talking to so many different people. I don’t necessarily mind that I relish the small everyday things that can be turned into grand adventures. I will not go so far as to suggest that you look for the positives after being diagnosed – that’s a little grandiose even for me.
I will suggest looking and finding, even if it’s only one, the positive. Because deep down there is at least one – a deeper connection with your significant other or a child; a deeper connection as to who you are; a deeper desire to connect with others; a deeper desire to live life to its fullest; a deeper desire to survive. Wallow if you need to, cry when you must. And when the dust settles look and see if you can find an adventure waiting for you. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?
Until next time, capture life kreatively!!
Some fun products for your picnic!! (Just a reminder that I am an Amazon affiliate, and if products are purchased through these links, I will receive a small commission.)