I got a tip from some coworkers to check out Whitewater State Park near Rochester (Southeast MN) since it has bluffs with views. I had a day off from working at the County Fair so off I went on an Friday adventure. I wanted a park semi-close so I could still sleep in a bit. I had a full jumbo mug of coffee and an audiobook loaded.
I pulled into the Whitewater parking lot not knowing what to expect. I popped into the park shop, had a quick, non-informative conversation with a teenage worker and grabbed a map.
It was an absolutely beautiful day. Humidity was low, sunny but not hot, and a cool breeze. I did the Coyote Point Trail. It started with a steep climb--literally, wooden stairs straight up--that hugged the some dolomite rock walls. I squealed with glee that I was actually climbing albeit stairs. The climb led to a trail covered with oak and maple trees. Although I would have loved hiking with John or other friends, I enjoyed taking my time and going at my own pace. I could star at pretty flowers and listen to the birds. And I hardly saw anyone else around. I had "The Only Living Boy in New York" by Simon and Garfunkel strumming in my head (Thanks to The Current) which made for quite a nice one-song soundtrack to my day.
I sighed with relief and contentment at the first bluff I perched on. This is exactly what I needed. I needed to look down on the world to feel at home *insert joke about me being judgmental*. Whitewater has plenty of overlooks, but it also has surprising meadows that pop out of nowhere, too, full of wildflowers and bird boxes.
After finishing the Coyote Trail, I didn't want to stop hiking so I kept chuggin' to the Chimney Rock outlook. Then I saw I was close to a lookout called Inspiration Point. How can you not go to a place called Inspiration Point? Worth it! My faith in Minnesota has been restored.
I'm very satisfied to add Whitewater State Park to my state park countdown.