Day Trippin’ Afton State Park

Expect to see many photos from Afton State Park since it is only 15 minutes from our home and is, as of now,our favorite places to hike.

Afton State Park, APS, is beautiful.

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And since most of the APS hiking paths are heavily shaded, it is a great place those of us with extra-pale-after-long-Minnesota-winter-Scandinavian-Heritage hikers. As much as we want to bask in the warmth of the sun after a long winter, we need to ease into our UV ray exposure slowly and with much sun block. Hiking at APS is good for that.

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We have not done much, if any, hiking with the kids. We have done long walks but usually there is a destination at the end and it isn’t solely about the journey. I want that to change. There was a swimming beach at the end of this trail that they all really wanted to see, but I did my best to slow them down in order to focus more on the actual hike than the finish line.

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I let them lead the way to the park and I was surprised and proud that not once did I have to correct their path choice.

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We stopped and watched the creek flow under this bridge and they were the ones who were the first to spot a possible beaver dam.

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We rested on a bench and talked about how too much water can kill vegetation just as quickly as not enough water.

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And then the path split and the lure of water made even my oldest, the strictest of map followers and least likely to take the road less travelled, off our planned route and down wooden steps, through a clearing and onto a sandy path.  When the kids saw the water they took off at full speed.

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Because we went on Friday, Tim was at work so it was just me and the kids. I have been sticking to a SAHM Summer School schedule (more on that in another post) so I called this a “Field Trip” so I could sneak in a little education without too much pushback from the kids.

Don’t hate me, it wasn’t like I was making them do work books, read or anything as horrible as that. All I asked them to do was two drawings in their sketch books.

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They each chose a different object to draw, but they all chose a similar landscape. It doesn’t surprise me that they all chose the water and tree line as their landscape because my kids are drawn to water. All three of them have always gravitated towards every puddle, body and even cup of water. It was fun to watch them work and what thing they each highlighted in their sketches.

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After doing their sketches we hiked the rest of the way to the swim beach where they all tested the only limit I set for them, don’t go in higher than the bottom of your shorts.

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It was a fun day and a very successful first real hike with just me and the kids. The kids left Afton State Park soaking wet and I am sure at least one of them will have a blister on their feet from walking with wet socks and shoes, but it was worth it.

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We talked the whole way home about “Next time…” They all think I need to pack swim suits/trunks but I am thinking more snacks because the hangries hit all three of them at about the 1/2 mile mark and a simple trail mix was not enough. More protein and carbs. The kids need more fuel if we want to keep hiking!

Next time… yeah I like the sound of that!

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