Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Our State Park Saunters

State Parks are the storehouses of our heritage....natural, historical, and cultural.  They protect some of America's most beautiful sites, and we all know that once these areas are lost, they will be gone from us forever.

Gull Point State Park Entrance
On our week get-away, we visited the beautiful Gull Point State Park by Lake Okoboji.  The entrance itself was rustic, yet regal.  It was in this park that we ate a picnic lunch of deli fried chicken.  A man and wife were out hiking and stopped by our picnic table to chat.  He insisted on walking back to their car to get an area map for us so we wouldn't miss the hot spots around Spirit Lake and Okoboji.


Orange "Tree Pies"

In Gull Point, we saw wild turkeys, deer tucked in the woods, squirrels chasing each other from oak tree to oak tree, and sap suckers busily sucking sap from trees.  Orange "tree pie" mushrooms growing on a tree caught my eye, so, of course, we had to ram the car in reverse to click a flick.  

Me and the Fuzzy One

Emerson Bay State Park and Marble Beach Rec Area are also beautiful places to camp beside the north end of Spirit Lake.  On Highway 27, a short way up from Marble Beach, we came upon a large U-shaped fishing pier, and just as we were driving by, a guy reeled in a 23" walleye, and he was able to keep it cuz it was over 22" long.  In that particular water, they have a walleye program that you can keep walleyes under 17".  There is a slot of between 17" to 22"  that the walleye have to immediately be returned to the water unharmed for reproduction purposes.  You are allowed to keep one over 22" per day.  This place is so cool, because the lake is divided by the Iowa-Minnesota state line.

We planned on eating fresh fried fish at our little cabin during our vacation, but, because of all those fishing rules, we had to settle for fish sandwiches at Burger King!  Oh, well, they were good, too, and far less work. 

Close-to-home vacations can really be a whole lot of adventure.   We never know what we'll bump into around the next corner.  Just like the evening we were driving down a gravel road in Jackson County, Minnesota, and came upon this sign in the secluded Belmont Park.

Today's Trivia is a useful site for locating our state parks!