Week 15 – Voyageurs National Park to Sioux Falls

Day 99

Sunday morning we left the oddness of the Myrtle Lake Resort and headed south to Bemidji, the “first town on the Mississippi River”. Along the way, we stopped at the Lost 40, 144 acres of red and white pines that were spared from loggers due to a surveying error that mapped the land as a lake. The area is one of the few patches of virgin forest left in Minnesota, with some of the trees older than 400 years.

Before heading to our camp site at Lake Bemidji State Park, we went into town for groceries and lunch, where we met a couple from California with a 1991 Westy in the parking lot. Then we headed downtown to the famous statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. There was also an Art in the Park festival, so we explored the booths and then walked though the downtown area.

Day 100 – Lake Bemidji State Park

Monday marked our 100th day on the road! We spent the day working and exploring Lake Bemidji State Park, a large park on the lake with lots to do. We took an afternoon walk though a bog, a marshy wetland with orchids (but we were too late to see them in bloom) and insect-eating plants.

Day 101- Lake Bemidji State Park to Maplewood State Park

We started the day with a walk along some of the trails near the lake, then got some work done before heading further south to Maplewood State Park, a great out-of-the-way park on a big lake. It was very quiet and a nice play to relax and work for a couple of days.

Day 102 – Maplewood State Park

Wednesday we tried to do a trail run around the lake, but there were way too many bugs, so we detoured to the road to get a little distance from the water. After the run, we spent the rest of the work day enjoying the peace and quiet.

Day 103  Maplewood State Park to La qui Parle State Park

We continued our journey south on Thursday to another state park, La qui Parle State Park. This part of the trip took us out of the woods and into the open prairie, so our campsite was a big open spot surrounded by wild flowers. The park was another off-the-beaten-path spot, so we enjoyed another quiet afternoon finishing our work day and watching little chipmunks with funky designs scamper around.

This was our last night in Minnesota and almost all of time here was spent in state parks. They have a really great system in the state, probably the best we’ve seen since leaving Oregon.

Day 104  –  La qui Parle State Park to Sioux Falls

Friday we started off the day working from the campgrounds, before hitting the road and driving on to Sioux Falls, which brought us briefly back into South Dakota. This time our destination was a KOA on the edge of town, right off the interstate. Little bit of a change from the rural state parks of Minnesota, but it was a nice enough place.

Day 105 Sioux Falls

Saturday we decided to get in a long walk, so instead of packing up the van, we hiked all the way from the KOA to Falls Park and then on into downtown. The park is built around the falls of the Big Sioux River, which was the historical center of the city. After visiting the falls, we continued into downtown, which was surprising charming with lots of shops and restaurants. We ate a hearty lunch, then did a little more shopping before making the long walk back the campground for a much needed shower and an evening of relaxation and recovery.

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