It was later morning by the time we got all the food together and some things done around the house. Our destination was Wild River State Park--just over an hour'd drive northeast on the St. Croix River. On our way we made a brief stop in the tiny little town of Almelund where we chanced to see a street that shared our last name (so we stopped to take a picture of course). They was a quaint little mercantile store that advertised Scandinavian pottery, so we stopped so my wife could peruse. It was mainly an antique store with a lot of Scandinavian items, along with a cafe nook, and a small grocery section. The owners we quite friendly and proud of their little town and its events.
After we arrived just down the road at the state park, we got out our cooler and had a picnic lunch. There were a number of programs going on at the park that day. We thought we'd try one on wild mushrooms. Unfortunately the presenter didn't have the right adapters to get her presentation to run on the park's computer and projector, and I think she got a bit flustered after that. She rambled quite a bit, and while she had some decent information in there, it wasn't enough to hold us captive (plus, we expected we'd be hiking and actually finding mushrooms). So we snuck out early and went for a hike. The hike was our main objective for the day--hoping to acclimate the boys to doing more hiking, hoping we could eventually do some backpacking. It wasn't overly long (just over 2 miles total) or strenuous; we enjoyed a walk along the St. Croix River. We stopped at a sandy beach near the end of the first trail for a snack, and the boys played in the river.
After we returned to our vehicle we headed down the road to Taylors Falls to find some supper. We ended up at an old-fashioned drive-in. The kids' meals included a coupon for 2-for-1 at the adjacent mini golf course, so the boys played a round. It took them a little while to get into the swing of things, but they enjoyed it, and each ended up with a hole-in-one (which they were quite thrilled about).
It was getting a little late in the day by that point, but we had thought about stopping at the Franconia Sculpture Park on our way home, but on our way out of Taylors Falls we saw a sign for a Glacial Garden, which we didn't remember seeing on our previous trips through town, so we drove in that direction to check it out. It was a part of Interstate Park right before the bridge to Wisconsin. The boys loved it--it was a trail through a rocky area with glacial potholes and other formations carved out from an ancient river bed. They kept asking today if we could go back so they could do some more climbing. While we won't be making that drive this weekend, we do hope to head back again soon for some fall camping in that area.
On our way home we stopped so my wife could get a picture of the bright orange, nearly-full moon that was rising on the horizon. Our main--make that only--expense of the day (other than gas) was supper and mini-golf. An inexpensive day, but a great way to spend a Saturday in September--and I think a few memories were made along the way.