From the Travel Desk: Joys and surprises of spring

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A patch of blooming Phlox flowers near Little Mantrap Lake south of Itasca State Park.

Photo: Brian Mark Perterson, Star Tribune

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Spring is a fleeting season, but surely one of the most celebrated, especially after the winter we just endured.

Wherever I traveled for today’s feature story — the second in a series designed to celebrate Minnesota’s wonders — I saw people planting gardens, picnicking, angling for fish hungry after months under ice. They probably didn’t mind if spring bounds right into summer.

Not photographer Brian Peterson and me. Charged with capturing spring’s essence, we hoped the season would linger. Mostly it did, but it served up some curveballs, too.

In May, when it seemed spring would never come, I shivered as I watched greater prairie chickens. In early June, I headed northwest again, to Itasca State Park and the Big Bog Recreation Area. Early blooming flowers were popping up at the bog under a chilly drizzle: pure spring. But at Itasca, fewer than 100 miles south, seasons seemed to shifting before my eyes. Muddy trails, yellow lady slippers and other signs of spring abounded, but children splashed at the park’s swimming beach on a warm day.

Brian traveled to Itasca for his last shoot on the one night he could capture the Mississippi headwaters under a full moon and clear skies. As he took photo after photo, from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., he wasn’t alone in the quiet night. Swarms of mosquitoes kept him company. Surely summer was on the way.

See the stunning result of Brian’s late-night, itchy endeavor on G8. You can buy that image, or any other from the story, read the first story in the series on winter in the Arrowhead, send e-postcards and see more photos and videos at startribune.com/stateofwonders.

If you missed the fleeting season, revisit it on these pages. We hope you enjoy the show.

 

Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.

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