I had taken a day off at the 9 to 5 job recently to get started on a large cupboard that I want to get painted before the snow flies.  I know, I know, it’s only the beginning of September, I shouldn’t be talking about the ‘s’ word yet.  But our fall weather can be unpredictable.  We might get gorgeous, sunny days in the 60’s and 70’s.  Or we might get this …

And this particular cupboard is too big and heavy to wrangle into the house, so I really need to get ‘er done.

But then my niece texted to ask if I wanted to go hiking with her in Banning State Park.  Not only was it a gorgeous day, but I’ve recently decided to work on getting out more.  In light of the whole COVID thing, I think it’s more important than ever to get out and do the things we can do safely, like hiking in the woods.  Plus, I always benefit from a little ecotherapy.  There is just something about immersing yourself in nature that feels rejuvenating.

So, rather than having a post about a finished project for you guys today, I just have a post about Banning State Park.  For those of you who are local, but haven’t been there (you could have included me in that category prior to this visit), Banning is just north of Hinckley, about a half mile east of I35 N and I’d say it’s worth the drive.

The trails we hiked were mostly flat, packed earth through a lovely, leafy forest.

(that’s my niece, Kris, and her dog, Jade)

But there were a couple of slightly more challenging spots …

There were also significantly more challenging trails that we could have chosen.  For example, the Hell’s Gate Trail.  The map said it was not recommended for small children though, so we chickened out 😉

Instead we did the Quarry Loop Trail which took us past the ruins of the old sandstone quarry that operated in the 1800’s.

We were also hiking along the Kettle River, although we couldn’t often see it well from the trail.

But when we could, it was magnificent.

And even when we couldn’t, the trail was still interesting.

I had read some reviews before we left and the one common denominator in all of them was the mention of how bad the bugs were.  So we came prepared with bug spray, and it was a lucky thing.  The mosquito population was definitely thriving in Banning State Park.

In addition to all of the trails in the park proper, you can leave the park and drive through the town of Sandstone to get to the Big Spring Falls Trail.  It’s a short, easy trail that leads to the Big Spring Falls.

Now, you might be wondering if the water is brown because it’s polluted, but that’s not the case.  The water in the Kettle River is amber colored due to tannins from wetlands that drain into the river.

We were hoping to see some kayakers or canoeists on the river, because this is a popular spot for white water enthusiasts, but no such luck.

We plan to get out and do a bit more hiking before winter, and hey, maybe we’ll even do some winter hiking this year.  I bet some of these trails are absolutely gorgeous in winter.

But in the meantime, I have a couple more days off at the day job this week so maybe I can get that cupboard painted!

28 thoughts on “ecotherapy.

  1. Next time you visit the park, make sure you visit Askov. It a lovely little place with strong Danish traditions (even the streets all have Danish street signs). Home of the awesome “kettle river pizza” and the ruedebaga days festival.


  2. Nothing makes me feel better than a spur-of-the-moment diversion, especially now! Can’t wait to see your cupboard. I have a larget built-in bookcase that I am debating painting to look like a large cupboard, so I’m looking for ideas.


  3. Love your pictures! Glad you enjoyed your outing with Kris and Jade! Looking forward to cupboard update! You always brighten my day! Thanks!


  4. Good decision to go with Kris and Jade. Looks like a beautiful park too. I’m sure glad we are in MN. My cousin In Wyoming said they gave snow forecasted for next week!😯


  5. Hi
    So nice to learn about local attractions in other parts of the country. It looks deserted, so even more natural. What a great day to go and thing to do.


  6. My Grama was a baby in Banning in 1905.
    A small town grew around a quarrying business started in 1885. By 1912 it was a ghost town. Love to imagine a city bustling with business, 2 hotels, a saloon….,yet, over 100 years later, see the beauty you saw on your hike. If only the walls (rocks) coukd talk! Thanks for this post!


    1. No kidding?! Well, how cool is that. Some of the literature mentioned that the quarrying business started out booming, but went bust pretty quickly. It was hard to imagine all of that bustling activity going on in the quiet, forested area we were hiking in 🙂


    1. For sure! It’s not far off the freeway, and the short hike to the Big Spring Falls would be a great way to stretch your legs before getting back in the car. Check it out next time!


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