My son and I got out yesterday for another tromp through the woods. The main goal was to have fun and hang out together, but we were also looking for more morel mushrooms. We headed down to the eastern edge of Fort Snelling State Park. This is one of the main parks of the Twin Cities’ large urban wilderness areas, and it connects a handful of other parks and a wildlife refuge, and taken together this area is huge.
We only found three morels, but we saw a few frogs, a garder snake, and a bunch of ducks. The marsh marigolds are in bloom and the forest undergrowth is about ankle high right now. This is one of our favorite spots to go hiking and I have been exploring and learning about this area for over ten years. This spring we had major floods on the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, so less than a month ago this whole area was under a couple of feet of water. Both of these rivers come together at Pike island, which can be seen from the hiking trail. The majority of Fort Snelling State Park is on the western side of the Minnesota River, but over at the Sibley trail (on the eastern side) there is still a lot to see. On the western side of the river, you can get to Crosby Farm Park, Hidden Falls Park, and to the south the Minnesota River Valley Wildlife refuge. I don’t know how much acreage all of these areas add up to, but it is probably one of the largest urban wilderness areas in the nation.