January 19, 2020 “Woodchuck” 3.7 Miles
Three of us showed up hoping that the conditions would allow us to hike today. No luck! The area got hit with snow and then freezing rain. Windy and temperature just above zero. We did get out of our cars for a short period to check things out and snap a few pictures. Check the picture of the ice circles floating in the lock. We will try to include this area as a summer hike next year.
Feb. 16, 2020 “Bald Eagle” 5 Miles 8 Hikers
Sunny day and the temperature was above freezing for our February hike. The road to lock 32 was closed which caused us to backtrack to the next access area. This first section was not easy going, all mud! The balance of the hike was great, no snow or ice. No problem spotting eagles in the tall cottonwood trees along the way. We even spotted 2 on the backwater ice. Quite of few people besides our group on the path today and if you do get tired there are plenty of benches to take a rest.
March 15, 2020 “Mink” 5.7 Miles 11 Hikers
I found a new news contact that brought out some new hikers today. This “Friends of the Hennepin “ project started over 18 years ago to get area people acquainted with our canal. Six first time hikers got to check out the lock 22 lift bridge and aqueduct 4 today. I think because of this we walked 6.3 miles and also clocked in a much longer finish. No minks spotted today but a busy muskrat caught our attention swimming at lock 22.
July 19, 2020 “Leopard Frog” 4 Miles, 5 in Kayaks, 4 walking
We are back as a group on the Hennepin Canal since March. Only 4 of us hiking and the other 5 paddling kayaks. Two of the later sported dogs and three were from out of state. This is the second time for the kayaks as we only can due this where boat ramps are situated and no locks involved. I have noticed an increase of kayak users this year. Quite a few fishermen are using kayaks now as you can access pools that do not have a boat ramp. We have been having severe storms going through this area but today it was just hot. It did not stop a lot of others to hit the trail with their bikes. A few anglers were also tossing in their lines at the aqueduct. Hoping Mother Nature will be kind to us in our future hikes.
Aug 16, 2020 “Kingfisher” 3.2 Miles 11 Hikers
It was a hot August day but we had shade for most of the hike. A recent storm had brought down a lot of trees in our area but the trail was all cleared. We noticed a problem at lock 19, no water going over the break wall. As we proceeded we were met by a couple that live along the canal and they had provided us with a water station. They said a hole had developed under the lock that resulted with the water draining out of that pool. This is a wide section in the canal and now only just a small stream running through.
Sept. 20, 2020 “Red Squirrel” 4.2 Miles 9Hikers
A warm afternoon for six hikers and three paddling kayaks. With this crew we were able to pick up a lot of trash along the trail and in the water. The hiking crew ran out of sacks before we got to the last mile. We only met only one person on a bike today, not even a fisherman. Could it be the return of sports on TV?
October 18, 2020 “Wood Duck” Lock 11 to Lock 17, 3.2 Miles – 4 Hikers
The weather has always been great for our October hikes, not so this year. A rain forecast kept people indoors. Two fishermen were the only others showing up at Lock 17 besides our hikers. Starting our hike at Lock 11 a light rain started. It was an on and off for the whole hike. This was scheduled to be a “fall colors weekend”. The colors were late this year! All in all we had a great walk just to get outdoors and enjoy nature.
November 15, 2020 “Muskrat” Br. 23 to Br. 28, 5 miles – 7 hikers.
I was not sure anyone would show up for a hike today as we had very strong gusty winds. Two new hikers showed up today for the last hike of the year. One thing in our favor we had the winds at our back. Another plus trees along the path stopped the gusts in many parts but we heard their noise above us. We did clear the trail of 2 tree branches that had just fallen. One thing we could do nothing about was water covered the path under a bridge, we had to go up and over the road to continue. A long hike today but we were treated to a beautiful sunset as we were leaving.