Column: Feasting on the fall seasonThese are the glory days. The next three and a half weeks pretty much define why we live in the Northland. Use them wisely, for they will vanish soon. The autumnal equinox is now past, and the race to the winter solstice has begun.
These are the glory days. The next three and a half weeks pretty much define why we live in the Northland. Use them wisely, for they will vanish soon. The autumnal equinox is now past, and the race to the winter solstice has begun.
Balance is finally restored to the force since the majority of the problematic bugs have been sucked into a wormhole, and the heat and humidity have retreated to the southern hemisphere.
A few days taken off from work this time of year is about the best use of vacation time that I can imagine. I’m going to feast on these beautiful days and engorge myself like a tick burrowed into a mammal. Don’t waste time planning perfection, but just dig in there and suck the marrow out for all your worth.
The weather was so gorgeous one day this week that I could hardly handle working my day job. I was able to finagle a longer lunch break to bike up Scenic 61 to the French River and back. That was a fine inoculation to get through the rest of the day! The bright sun, cool breeze, and bright blue shimmering waters of Lake Superior were North Shore perfection.
Each year I attempt the full trifecta by taking ample time from work for the family, for personal interests, and also to spend time with my wife while the kids are in school. However, two or three days for personal interests, without having to fret over everyone’s happiness, is positively rejuvenating. It’s a worthwhile investment of time, because it helps fulfill personal goals while simultaneously returning me to the family freshened up and more dynamic as a father and husband.I already got a head start on my usual fall frenzy by biking down the full length of the Munger Trail and back with a friend. That was a good ride, but I definitely look forward to the connection trail that will eventually link the Lakewalk to the Munger. Of the more than 170 miles we rode round-trip, crossing the city was the most challenging.
While the Munger Trail is at times not the most exciting bike route, being relatively flat and straight, it is a rite of passage that any able-bodied Minnesotan should attempt to accomplish at least once in their life.
It was striking to see how plentiful the undeveloped green space is in our state. Nearly the entire 70 miles of the trail was through forest, fields, or wetland. In fact, the trail had a very undeveloped remote feeling literally until the very moment we reached the trailhead in Hinckley. It passes through a beautiful and expansive wetland in that last stretch, and it was good to see another side of Hinckley other than the gas stations and restaurants along the freeway.
Speaking of bike trails, just this month an expansion of the Duluth Lakewalk opened all the way to Brighton Beach on the extreme eastern edge of town. Our family has enjoyed bike rides to this fantastic picnic park already, and the best part is being able to go under London Road without worrying about the traffic. The roughly $2 million price tag for this short extension, which includes an impressive bridge to span the Lester River gorge and a tunnel under London Road, was well worth the cost.
Now families can reach one of the crown jewels of our park system by biking or walking with a minimal risk of death. Any time infrastructure like this can be created to encourage alternative transportation, numerous families and individuals avail themselves of the opportunity. This greatly enhances the health and happiness of our community.
If you do nothing else this fall I urge you to enjoy biking the entire length of the Lakewalk just once. It is a real fulfillment of a dream now, because there are stellar destinations at both ends of the trail rather than the temporary stopping points that existed previously.
Add in a stop at a restaurant or café near the water, and you’ve got yourself a whale of a date with your loved one.
Monthly Budgeteer columnist Eddy Gilmore is a freelance writer, father of twins and husband of one. He can be reached via e-mail at eddyg_ email@example.com.