June 8th and 9th pictures — camping, yo

On Friday night, Krista, Cassie, and I went camping at Minneopa, one of Minnesota’s 75 state parks. It was established back in 1905 as our third state park. The main natural attraction is a lovely waterfall in the Minneopa Creek which runs through the park. According to Wikipedia, the name “Minneopa” is a shortened version of the Dakota word “Minneinneopa,” which means “water falling twice.” (There are actually two waterfalls at Minneopa.) Speaking of etymology, let me wander through some other Minnesota words derived from the Dakota word for “water”: Minnesota, of course (meaning “sky-tinted water”); Minnehaha (“waterfall”); Minnetonka (“great water”); Minneapolis (Dakota “mni” [“water”] + Greek “polis” [“city”]. I never see this actually translated as “city of water,” although the city’s nickname is “City of Lakes.” So, that leaves us with The City of Water: The City of Lakes); Minneota (“much water”); Minnetrista (“crooked water”); Minneiska (“white water”). So now you know.

Anyway, I guess there was a very shortlived town on the site of Minneopa, but after the horrible grasshopper plagues in the 1870s, it was deserted. People still flocked to the falls, though. In the mid-20th century, an old, defunct mill, Seppmann’s Mill, was incorporated into the park, and now it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. The park hopes to restore it someday — replace its arms and such — and given the fact that state parks have toooons* of money to throw around, I’m sure this will happen very soon. (*Extra “o”s for sarcastic effect.)

It’s a very nice place.

1. Fire, man’s oldest foe. Insatiable, unquenchable, remorseless. Also a key component for cookie s’mores.

2. A stinkbug basking in the light of the lantern reflected off the cooler.

3. Some leaves in the rocky outcrop at the edge of our campsite (which somewhat treacherously overlooks some train tracks).

4. A leaf in the woods surrounding our site.

5. Unripe honeysuckle berries

6. Some pretty little mushrooms Krista pointed out.

7. A spider clinging to my brake light. It reared its front legs fiercely at me. I deserved it. I was getting up in its face with the lens.

On the terrifically humid Saturday morning, we went on a little hike through a sumac-filled kind of pseudo-prairie (oak savanna) to see the Seppmann Mill. We saw many lovely wild flowers and other plants.

8. Milkweed buds about to open.

9. Ripe honeysuckle berries

10.

11. Some little cuppy structures emerging from lichen — or something. It was a little hard to tell because whatever the cups sprang from, it was all grey and decrepit-looking.

12. I think this is that delightful yellow goat’s beard.

13.

14.

15. I think this might be dame’s rocket

16.

17. The Seppmann Mill

18. Wouldn’t you know. A little tree growing out of the mill.

19. You can’t go inside the mill (shucksy darn) but you can look inside through these little openings to spy mysterious eyes, or withered grey hands slashing at your face, or spiders, always spiders. You don’t see any of these things in this picture, but that’s probably just a lucky coincidence.

20. Old echinacea flower, I think it was.

21. Last year’s prairie coneflower?

22. Butterfly weed

23. Monarch

24. Lichen on huge granite rock on the trail

25. Virginia creeper on rock

26. Then we went to the falls — here’s a view of the first fall from between the rails on a bridge crossing the creek.

27. There were some pretty neat mosses and lichen growing on the cliffs surrounding the staircase on the way down to the falls.

28. And little ferns, too.

29.

30. Blue cohosh, I think.

31. The big falls

32. People carving all kindsa stuff on the cliff faces

33. I think this is a livewort. Hurray for nonvascular plants!

34. The liverwort from overhead.

Edit: Oh, and a strange and amusing thing occurred Saturday morning. Between the three of us we were able to establish that there was a fellow camper prettying herself up for a full HOUR AND A HALF in the bathrooms. Toenails painted, hair curled, the works. The true meaning of camping, we have found you.

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11 thoughts on “June 8th and 9th pictures — camping, yo

  1. Ach…there are too many to name here for my favorites. #5 is just BEAUTY (they all are, really). And what’s up with #7? You ARE getting a bit daring, aren’t you?

    • Thank you!! And to be fair, it helps when they’re about an inch long, ha. Which doesn’t preclude it from being a harrowing scrape with death when it reached for me…

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