Hiking in the fall

Fall is the best time to check out the hiking trails in the Crane Lake area. The bugs are gone and the weather has cooled and the leaves are beginning to change color.

The Herriman Trail is one of the best trails the area has to offer: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5190356.pdf

beaver

Beaver work

A beaver has been busy working on a big tree on the trail.

poplar-tree

mature Aspen tree

This is the tree that the beaver has been working on. What a prize it will be when it topples. Beavers use their oversized teeth to work on the trunk over several days. Their hope is that mother nature will come along and help. A strong wind would take this tree down finishing the beaver’s work.

sawed off log

sawed off log

Sometimes the trail can get overgrown or maybe a tree has fallen on the trail. When that happens you want to carefully search for where the trail continues. One sure way to know you are on the right track is to look for logs that have been intentionally cut by a saw.

cut log

cut log

Another trail marker is the Rock Cairn. These landmarks are usually placed by the trail to indicate the correct path to take.

rock-cairns

Rock Cairns

Parts of the trail goes over ledge rock where there isn’t much vegetation to mark the trail. This is where rock cairns come in handy. Look for the next pile of rocks and you know you are on the right track.

ledge rock

Trail over ledge rock

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Voyageurs National Park article from MPR

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/09/01/photos-voyageurs-national-park

 

Check out the above article about Voyageurs

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Fringed Gentian

Gentian, fringed

Fringed Gentian

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Quit eating my Wild Rice!

 

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Wild Rice

blooming wild rice

Wild Rice blooming

Wild Rice at Crane Lake is easy to come by. The Vermilion River is where people go to harvest this organic grain.

http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/canoe_routes/vermilion.pdf

 

The Vermilion River is a designated “wild river”. There are campsites along the river and a few portages around rapids and waterfalls. No permits are needed to travel this 30 mile section of river that connects Crane Lake to Lake Vermilion. All you need is a canoe.

 

blooming wild rice

Wild Rice in bloom

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Mallards

Mallards in the morning light.

Mallards in the morning light.

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Favorite Wildflower

pipsissewa

Pipsissewa

My #1 all time favorite wildflower: Pip – sis – sue – wah.

pipsisewa

Pipsissewa

pipssewa

pips in hand

This small wildflower is another evergreen plant of the forest floor. The leaves are leathery and do not fall of the plant in the winter. If you dug down through the snow in the winter, you would find the green leaves of this plant.

pipsisewa

close up image of Pipsissewa

pipsissewa2

buds of the Pipsissewa wildflower

buds of the Pipsissewa wildflower

The above photo shows old dried up flower seed pods from last year, and new flowerbuds formed this year.

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neat little article about VNP

 

Everybody’s Cabin

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Indian Pipe is all over the place

Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe, monotropa uniflora

My second favorite wildflower, the Indian Pipe, is blooming right now. It is a really good year for this unique wildflower and it’s all over the place over at the Vermilion Gorge Hiking Trail. (stayed tuned for my #1 favorite wildflower)

monotropa uniflora

monotropa uniflora

Ever wonder what the nodding heads of Indian Pipe hides? Here is a damaged flower that was lying on the trail. I would never pick any of these wild plants – they’re just too rare and delicate to disturb. They require very specialized soil ingredients in just the right balance to grow and thrive.

The flowering plant is completely white because they require no chlorophyll to grow – chlorophyll is the component that makes plants green.

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Toads are out, look out!

toad

American Toad

baby toad

baby Toad

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