On Saturday Truman and I went exploring to new lands. The forecast was for rain off and on all day and it was very windy. Not exactly good birding conditions. I did some gardening instead, and noticed around 9am that it wasn't raining yet, so I tossed Truman in the car, intending to drive south to the nearest park for a short walk. But raindrops spattered the windshield. I noticed sun to the north, and turned to follow it to sheltered Hamlin Park. There, Truman objected to the sound of strong wind gusts in the branches. Sigh.
Thwarted again, I pulled a map out (yes, an old-fashioned map, as I do not own an intelligent phone) and looked for parks north and west, where the sun was shining. And noticed, apparently for the first time in the decades I've been living here, a place in Shoreline called Shoreview Park, which included a spot called Hidden Lake. Goodness. How could I have not investigated this before? A hidden lake? Off we went!
When I turned into the park, I felt disappointed, as all I could see were playing fields and a playground. Thankfully, the road climbed up and around these to a parking lot bordering a wooded area, where I found a map (yes, another old-fashioned physical map) showing trails, one of which led to Hidden Lake.
It was still very windy, yet it felt sheltered here without the annoying moaning and groaning branches, so Tru was happy.
Until, that is, I discovered that I'd missed the marker post for Hidden Lake, and we had to backtrack about a half-mile. He thought we were returning to the car, and could go home, and balked at continuing on. The lake was another half mile or so away, and we were both a bit tired from hiking up and down hilly trails, and there were no benches anywhere. So after another quarter-mile I was delighted to find an empty platform just sitting off in the middle of nowhere, where it was very sunny. We had a lovely rest there.
The lake was indeed hidden -- we could actually see it from the platform through the trees. As we continued down the trail, it became less and less hidden.
While we'd seen a few people walking dogs here and there, we lucked out by arriving at the lake when no one else was there. Truman immediately waded in for a cool-down.
Except for a pair of Mallards and a few Buffleheads, for the next ten minutes Truman owned that little lake. He was a very happy camper indeed, and so was I.
This park was about a 15-minute drive from my house -- how could I not have known about it all these years? It's a truly delightful place, and made for the perfect outing on a blustery day.