Athletic Park-Chaska-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began at Athletic Park.

We hiked the Levee Trail alongside the Chaska Unit which is part of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Our recent snowstorm this week created a beautiful blanket of white snow throughout the State of Minnesota. Snow gently topped the Sumac and icicles shimmered in the sun.

Along the trail we found a park next to the Carver Water Tower with old metal playground equipment. It had an old school merry-go-round! We had to take it for a spin. After a few long laughs, we continued on our hike.

The Minnesota River was partially frozen.

Carver Creek Loop was the next trail we hiked.

The crisp white snow created a stark contrast along the shoreline of Carver Creek.

Clouds covered the sky for most of our hike however, the sun tried to make an appearance.

Rapids Lake Unit at Bluff Park was our next destination. We continued along the Carver Creek Loop trail. The trail went from a few footprints and fat tire tracks on the trail to having only one set of footprints in the snow and then no footprints. We followed some animal tracks on what appeared to be a trail. A few miles in, we saw a sign stating we were on the Rapids Lake Trail.

We decided to turn around and hike back to the Carver Creek Loop. I’m not sure why the trail is labeled as a loop since there is no loop. Our off the beaten path adventure allowed us to see three deer prancing, a flock of swans fly overhead, and best of all…hear the silence of the winter forest.

Today’s hiking adventure was 9 miles.

Louisville Swamp-Shakopee-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure was at Louisville Swamp.

We hiked the Mazomani Trail through the Louisville Swamp.

Our first stop was to take in the view at the Bluff Overlook.

The trail followed alongside the Louisville Swamp creek.

Eventually, we had to make a decision to cross over the creek or turn back around. We decided to jump on the rocks and ice to the other side. Of course I had to stop midway to take pictures.

Our next stop was to explore Jab’s Farm. The house was made from sandstone in 1880.

Back on the trail again.

Our next find was a GIANT boulder.

The mushrooms didn’t seem to mind the snow.

Mother Earth always seems to amaze us! We found wild cucumber pods. They appeared to decorate the trees like holiday ornaments. We also found a sweet tiny new branch growing from a stump.

We crossed over the Louisville Swamp creek several more times on the trail. Thankfully, there were bridges.

A blue jay flew by and landed long enough for me to snap its photo.

Today’s hiking adventure was 7 miles.