• 55°

Dick Herfindahl: Way to go, Gophers! Keep rowing the boat

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl

 

After watching the Minnesota Golden Gophers defeat the Auburn Tigers in the Outback Bowl I have a very nostalgic feeling. I have been a Minnesota Gopher fan since I was a kid and I can remember listening to Gopher games on the radio on many Saturday afternoons; I guess that the two games that stick out in my mind are a 6-0 win over Missouri in a driving blizzard and an embarrassing 84-13 loss to Nebraska in 1983 which was a record for points scored. After listening to that game in which the Nebraska coach finally played his reserves in the 3rd quarter. I had to wonder how a coach could run up a score like that but if I were to venture a guess I’d guess that the Gophers were just that bad in ‘83. 

I have to give a lot of credit to our now coach, P. J. Fleck for building a program, in a short amount of time, that his fellow coaches, and more importantly, his players believe in. I am a Minnesotan so I am always a little wary when it comes to the “too good to be true” feeling. I can look back at the Lou Holtz debacle and how he came to the Gophers, started to build a good foundation and then abruptly took his dream job at Notre Dame and left everyone high and dry. That ordeal gave me a few trust issues but I really don’t see that being an issue with Fleck because he seems to be the real deal. This victory is huge and it should be good for recruiting some “blue chip” players to the “U” in the near future.

I was kind of surprised that on one of the warmer, rainy days that we had just experienced there were still folks with portable houses fishing Fountain in standing water. I guess that the ice fishermen are indeed a hearty bunch. With this inconsistent weather that we have been experiencing a person must always use caution when venturing out on the ice. I have heard from some folks that the perch and panfish have been biting regularly.

I have never been much of a “hard water” fisherman but in the past few years I have been out on the ice a few times. This is all thanks to my grandson Trevor and my friend Mark. I didn’t make it out at all last year and, I may not get out there again this year, although I would love to get up to the cabin for a few days and try my luck on our lake. I will probably have to file this last statement in the “probably won’t happen” file but it is fun to fanaticize.

If you are looking for a little adventure to break up the winter some of our State Parks, including Myre-Big Island State Park right here in our own backyard, are open year-round.

If you go to the DNR website you can find their winter activities guide and, more importantly, they have a list of state parks that are open year-round. They also list what type of lodging they have and the winter activities that each park offers.

You can go to the DNR website: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/winter_camping.html to find listings of state parks that are open all year for winter camping adventures. Read Minnesota Conservation Volunteer’s helpful article on family camping come winter.

Winter tent camping not your cup of tea? Many Minnesota state parks have cozy, convenient lodging opportunities that are sure to please, so you can still get out and enjoy winter activities in a park without having to pitch a tent in the snow or build a quinzee.

Take a winter walk

If you just want to do a little winter hiking on one of the many park’s trails there are plenty of them that are there for you to enjoy.

Don’t let a little cold weather keep you from staying happy and healthy. Plenty of state parks and recreation areas plow or pack miles of trails for winter walkers! Winter hiking in Minnesota is beautiful, rewarding, and a great family activity.

Before you go:

• Check snow conditions before you head out.

• Use HikeFinder to see recommended hikes for all parks.

• Be safe and smart when hiking in cold weather; follow these tips.

• Get rewards for completing hikes. Join the Hiking Club.

State Parks that have plowed or packed trails are:

• Afton State Park

• Blue Mounds State Park

• Douglas State Trail

• Flandrau State Park

• Fort Snelling State Park

• Glendalough State Park

• Gooseberry Falls State Park

• Grand Portage State Park

• Jay Cooke State Park

• Lake Bemidji State Park

• Myre-Big Island State Park

• St. Croix State Park

• Sibley State Park

• Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

• Tettegouche State Park

• William O’Brien State Park

Purchase a vehicle permit today and get a year of unlimited visits to all of Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas.

Until next time, I want to wish everyone a very happy new year!

Please take a few moments to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms that we enjoy today. Also, take a little extra time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who have served and those troops serving today.