Every summer my sons and I spend two June weeks in the metropolitan area for camp. We take advantage of all that the city offers and a big part of this is enjoying Lake Harriet. We are currently in the midst of our time here and even with all the rain and a busy camp schedule, most days start and end at the lake. There is nothing better than waking up and taking a brisk walk around the lake to begin the day. Usually, a blue heron can be found sitting on a dock or near shore. One day, a bald eagle perched high in a tree drawing a crowd of excited observers. Young and old bike, fish, run and rollerblade. Once a year we make a point of hiking through the wild bird sanctuary that sits adjacent to the lake. It’s hard to believe you are in the heart of the city when you are there. My 10 year old loves to go for a swim in the lake before bedtime. One night I sat on the beach soaking up the peaceful surroundings, while my son swam with new friends. As they splashed, a mama duck glided through the swimming area followed closely by her fuzzy haired ducklings. My son happened to look up and he cried out in surprise and excitement when he spotted them. It felt as if the ducks had been photoshopped into the moment. It was almost too picturesque.
While the metro lakes and parks aren’t the Boundary Waters, they are well used and much loved and give urbanites an opportunity to connect with nature on a daily basis. They remind me how thankful I feel to live in Minnesota, such a stunning place for so many reasons.
Kristin Eggerling is a board member for Conservation Minnesota Voter Center, the mother of two, and a freelance writer in northwestern Minnesota.