On a recent run along Minnehaha Creek, I was reminded of one of the joys of our region: a variety of landscapes, each with a natural beauty worth exploring. Trees along the creek path were screening out the city, but that is not what stirred my appreciation for the wonders around us. It was my exchange with a couple, both carrying loaded backpacks.

Unless merely returning home from the grocery store, they were training for an upcoming hike. Naturally, I eased up to walk alongside them a moment to ask. The two were preparing for a trip not to the Rockies or Yosemite or the Appalachian Trail — but Minnesota’s own lovely forested walking path, the Superior Hiking Trail.

First, they would attend the Minnesota State Fair (because who wants to miss that? they said, plus they could bulk up before the physical challenge ahead). Then they would head to the Canadian border, and begin a southward walk through the North Woods. An enviable plan.

A few days later, I was headed north myself, to a house on the shore of Lake Superior. Even as I write this, I am watching rainfall on the expansive lake, blurring the horizon so that it appears like a gray-and-blue Impressionist painting.

Rain or not, August is the best month to relish summer — in part because you can already sense it fading away.

Luckily for us Minnesotans, we don’t have to travel far for a getaway. Head into the Boundary Waters with an outfitter. Check out the prairie in Pipestone. Hit a lake resort for beach bonfires and water skiing. Bike the Root River Trail.

Even those with limited time can refresh their outlook. A ride with the Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours glides past rock formations along the St. Croix River. Canoe or kayak the Mississippi with Broken Paddle Guiding in Wabasha. Take a hike at a nearby state park. Just get away — whether you have a day or enough time to hike a 300-mile-plus footpath.


Contact Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.