Just a Day in the Park Week 6: Beginning of Summer, Luke Reaches Lake Country
Traveler, Luke Gorski is making his way into lake country as he continues his journey to visit each and every one of Minnesota's 66 State Parks. Luke checked in with Heidi Holtan and John Latimer to give KAXE/KBXE Morning Show the update on his trek. Click the "listen now" player above to hear the entire conversation.
Since the last time Luke checked in with the morning show, he's been busy visiting parks in the central part of the state. On the docket this past week were Crow Wing, Mille Lacs Kathio, Father Hennepin, Banning, and Moose Lake. Along with Luke's regular hikes at each of the parks, he also took time to visit the most-notable features of the parks as well. "The fire tower at Mille Lacs Kathio was definitely the thing I was most interested in because of the views. And my first-ever look at Mille Lacs Lake was from the fire tower."
Luke's favorite of this crop of parks was Banning, near Sandstone, MN. And even though Luke would not consider himself a water creature, the kayaking on the Kettle River was enough to draw him in. "With the water levels up on the Kettle, there were a great set of rapids and they were rushing. That part of the park's the prime sport kayaking destination in Minnesota," Luke said. "Lots of rapids."
Latimer asked Luke if he tried his hands at running the rapids. "I have not," Luke said bluntly. "Me neither," replied Latimer. "It's an exciting ride, but I don't want to be there." On that, John and Luke agree. A point that the two did not agree on is the fun of swimming in summer lakes. But there's still time for Luke to become a water creature yet.
When asked about the flora he has been noticing on his journey, two flowers stood out to Luke: the Orange Hawkweed and the Blackberry Flowers. Latimer pointed out that the berry flowers are coming in further north as well, but had words of caution about the Hawkweed. "It's new to northern Minnesota," Latimer said. "I don't recall seeing them before, but since the '80s and '90s, they've come in in a great rush. It's a beautiful little flower, but it's incredibly invasive and it's not good forage for cows. They don't like that hairy prickly plant, and farmers are yelling bloody murder when it gets into their fields."
For those following along at home, as of this interview, Luke has visited 42 out of 66 state parks in Minnesota. Almost two-thirds of they way through, and Luke is still yet to get to the good stuff. The next legs of his journey are sure to be awe-inspiring.
"You've got a lot of climbing to do as you get to the north shore," Latimer warned. "Should be a lot of fun!"
Along with the North Shore parks, Luke is still to visit Itasca, Scenic, and some of the other gems that we have in our neck of the north woods. Stay tuned for more!