A couple weeks ago I took a day off from work to go to Banning State Park. I was informed there was a nice little water fall there and it was only 45 minutes from my home. Unfortunately, the day I took off to head up there, the forecast called for rain all day.
It didn’t rain at my home but was cloudy and looked like rain. I checked Sandstone, MN weather and it showed 79% precipitation. I really wasn’t going to drive 45 minutes to be rained out. Since it was raining at my home, I went out and enjoyed by brand new deck and caught up on my cross stitching and reading. I never get time for either of these anymore.
I was a little disappointed I wouldn’t make it on my waterfall quest but hey, gives an excuse for another day off work to try again. I enjoyed my day on my deck, couple times I thought it was getting pretty dark and my day would be washed out but the rain never arrived at my home.
I put in for another vacation day for last Wednesday, try this waterfall quest once again.
The weekend before I was to head up, the weather man says…. rain all day Wednesday. Really……again. I just want a camera day.
Wednesday morning came, the weather man changed his forecast, the rain would come only overnight that night. The day would be clear and perfect, mid 60′s with sunshine.
I hopped in my little old vehicle and hit the road. Arrived in Sandstone around 10:30 and thought I would find something to eat before my day of hiking, not a fast food place or gas station for food anywhere. Oh well, I had a bowl of cereal around 6:00 am, I would be fine.
Besides, I was told the waterfall was only about a mile hike in, not far at all. Hike in and take photos for an hour or two and head home for a late lunch.
I pulled into the park and the fall colors were amazing. I was told by my informant, go to the last parking lot and follow the trail in. The last parking lot was by the boat landing and the rapids just below, made sense to me.
I followed the trail in, taking photos of the colors and the rapids on the way.
There were little squirrels everywhere along the hike, chattering away at me.
This one was enjoying a snack he found.
An hour or so later, I had hiked quite a ways and still no sign of the end of the trail or the waterfalls. Figured maybe I better take a few less photo stops and start hiking to find this waterfall.
I found the rapids, how much farther can these falls be…. have to be getting near.
I stopped and spent a good 45 minutes at the rapids, such a pretty blue sky and perfect day.
Time to head on to the falls. Um…. the trail is done, it ended. No falls.
I found a side trail after backtracking some, took many loops, the map kept showing the final loop would have a trail to the falls. I am on my way.
Loop after loop, no falls trail. But another trail to Hells Rapids this time, this must be getting near.
Again, a dead end.
This little squirrel was making fun of me for not finding my trail, he yelled and chattered at me for quite a while. I think he wanted me to go away.
If he is going to sit and laugh at me, I am going to take his photo. Two can play that game right?
Headed back from my last dead end, I found a side trail that had a do not enter sign. I had seen this on the way in so I followed the other trail. Coming this direction I realized the sign was do no enter for cross country skiers only, couldn’t see that going the other way. This was my falls trail, at last. However by this time it is almost 2:00, I am really hungry. According to my fitbit I had walked 24,537 steps, over 10 miles and 47 flights of stairs (hills). I was foot sore, hot, hungry and tired. This long hike with 50 pounds of camera equipment on your back. I looked at the trail, started down it, turned back, stopped and debated. I really wanted my waterfalls but it was another .3 mile loop with a .4 trail at the end to get to the falls. Enough, they would be there another day. Hiked back to my car to find out the falls trail is off the SECOND to last parking lot, not the last. Now I know, I can return. Headed home about 2:30, stopped for a burger on the way. At least it wasn’t a wasted trip, I still got my fall colors.