Sunday, July 20, 2014

To Medicine Lake

Two friends of ours moved last year to a place near Medicine Lake in Plymouth, about 15 minutes west of Minneapolis, and by all accounts, they are loving this location. They live so close to this big lake that they can (and often do) spend weeknights sailing or kayaking. After Josh and I spent yesterday afternoon with them at the lake, I can see why they love it so much!

We met up at the beach at Clifton E. French Regional Park, part of the park system where I worked for several years in high school and college. I haven't spent a lot of time there in my life besides skiing on the cross-country trails and a few visits to the awesome cargo net-themed playground as a kid, but it's a beautiful park with lots of skiing, biking and walking trails. There's limited parking at the beach, so most people park at the main lot and then choose either a 0.3- or 0.6-mile walk/hike to the beach. The 0.3-mile path (our choice!) winds through the woods and over a bridge with a big view.

Our friends kayaked across the bay to meet us, and the plan was for Josh and I to rent kayaks so we could paddle with them, but the park staff weren't able to rent any boats because it was too windy. There was a 40 percent chance of storms all afternoon, but it never actually rained: just a cloudy day with warm gusts that did create some whitecaps early in the afternoon on Medicine Lake.

We decided to wait an hour to see if the restriction was lifted and turned our attention to horseshoes. We played two games, and Josh and I lost both times. (I should be clear that this was not Josh's fault, but it was very fun.) The rental restriction was still on after we played horseshoes, but the wind had quieted down, so we headed over to the beach with a plan to use their kayaks to go out on the water two at a time if we wanted.

My friend K and I hopped into the kayaks first and headed into a quiet little bay adjacent to park territory. I've known her since sophomore year of high school - in fact, we both did our first triathlon at the same race that year (14 years ago!). She moved away from Minnesota for college and a few years after that, and now that she and her husband are Minnesota residents again, I've enjoyed seeing them more! We paddled leisurely, and the water was calm in this tiny pocket of the large lake. There are so many different parts of the lake to explore, and so much variety. Again, I see why they love it.

We returned to the beach to find our husbands listening to a radio broadcast of a baseball game (another sound that is completely congruent with the notion of summer to me). We dragged the kayaks up onto the sand and sat down on the towels and relaxed for another stretch.

In the late afternoon, our friends got back in their kayaks and Josh and I headed back to St. Paul. A big thank you to them for the great day - and for showing us around this beautiful park and lake.

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