Saturday, June 11, 2022

Escape Route

Gravel Goodness
A foundational figure in gravel biking, a gravel event director, an acquaintance, Mark Stevenson (aka Guitar Ted), and a blogger hailing from Waterloo, Iowa, describes the way he leaves pavement to get onto gravel roads as: "escape routes."

On Thursday afternoon I escaped from the confines of the Fargo ND-Moorhead MN metro area. It was a short escape but long overdue. The opportunity arose to get part of a day and a night away. My one person, MSR Carbon Reflex tent had not been set up for well over a year, maybe closer to two. The same applies to my sleep system. There was no need for a camp stove or meals. This was a short trip. Minimal packing was required.

Minnesota State Parks are popular and campsites are reserved quickly. Unless a person reserves a spot online weeks in advance, options are limited. Also most sites are for drive through trailers or RVs, not tents. During a conversation with one of my daughters, she suggested a park a bit further away than I had considered. Time, as well as the price of fuel played into my thinking. However, when I checked availability for a tent site, I was pleasantly surprised and booked it immediately. Time and cost of fuel were set aside for an adventurous escape!

Entrance Kiosk
Glendalough State Park, near Battle Lake MN is a quiet, modestly developed park on the transition line between hardwood forest and prairie. Its origins are a hunting refuge. The owners had ties to a major newspaper in Minneapolis MN. Lakes, wildlife, and hiking/biking trails abound. Due to its modestly developed almost primitive nature, wooded tents sites are abundant. Actually this type of camping is emphasized. It is called "cart-in" camping as carts are provided for each of the more than 20 sites and rustic camper cabins. A well maintained bathroom and shower building is near-by. Yup, hot water showers! A short hike from this area gets you to the vendor which rents watercraft and various types of bikes. No motorized watercraft are allowed on the lakes. Thus the quiet of a canoe, stand-up paddle board, or kayak graces the clear waters which can be fished. 

My place of repose
I was mildly surprised by my memory of tent set-up. More astonishing was having all the necessary stakes and equipment. I needed the help of a sizable rock to drive some stakes into the ground, as I failed to bring my mallet. Part of the enjoyment is improvising! Exploring trails, admiring flowering plants, chatting with the campground host, and a comfortable camp shower made the escape exquisite. As dusk transitioned into darkness the symphony of nature began. Frogs, crickets, waterfowl, and owls joined in a pleasantly diverse lullaby. Minimal human sounds emanated from the other campsites. The rhythm of rain drops dropped from a couple passing showers graced the deep night. As the sky lightened around 5am the soundscape of numerous birds brought me out of a restful sleep.                                                                                                                      
One of many deer

Maybe the escape route was longer than I had desired. However, the benefits even for a brief period of time were monumental. It was back into the fray on Friday morning. More escape routes are in my future!

One of the flowering plants

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