Written by Api Sulistyo
May 28, 2020
Our family has been wanting to go to Taylors Falls near the Saint Croix river. It is famous for having the world’s deepest glacial potholes. We have been to this beautiful hiking place a few times and this rocky riverbank is always attractive to visit. A few weeks ago we were ready to go there to celebrate our daughter Megan’s birthday, but it was raining the whole day. We ended up staying at home, enjoying our family time playing Monopoly.
On Memorial Day (5/25/2020) we finally had our well anticipated opportunity to make our trip. The seven of us and Zona our dog, took two separate cars. The day started with a family breakfast. “Bring a rain jacket,” my wife told me as we were at the door to leave the house. I grabbed a jacket hooked on a coat stand near the front door. I knew that it was not even my raincoat.
The dark clouds were discouraging. At some point it would be raining. Yet, we determined to go and spend the time together. It took us a little more than one hour to reach Taylors Falls, 60 miles away to the northeast from our home. We had to stop at a gas station to get gas. “Use this paper towel,” my wife handed a piece of white paper towel to protect my hand from having a direct contact with the handle. She told me that the gas station is one of the most common places where people get exposed to COVID-19.
We went to the main street of Taylors Fall, a small town of 976 people. We were lucky to find parking spots open that were free for up to three hours. We walked to the State Park through an underpass. The parking lot was full and the place was packed with many visitors. We climbed up to one of our favorite spots with a great view of the river and took a family picture. We had to take turns with other visitors to maintain social distancing. We each used hand sanitizer afterwards since we knew many people had touched the same rocks we did while climbing up for the scenic view, which was spectacular. We were so relieved that the sun finally came out and presented a brighter day. I am sharing some pictures of Interstate State Park so you can appreciate the scenic views of the park.
Exploring the location, we decided to take the River Trail along the river. It was about 1.5 miles on the trail one way and we had to share the trail with many people. The sun turned the day into a hot and humid day. The kids teased my wife for having overdressed in jeans. She had been so focused on watching the rain forecast she hadn’t paid any attention to the outside temperature. Some areas of the trail were wet and slippery. At various points we had to wait for a few minutes to avoid a crowd. I noticed some people were wearing masks, but many did not. We went through our water bottles quickly and were relieved to see a cold beverage vending machine at the end of the trail. The cold water and Gatorade tasted so good.
On the way back to our cars we had to walk faster because we almost ran out of our parking time. We ran into our friends Thomas and Daniel. Our son Alex will be a captain on the high school swim and dive team along with Daniel and two others this fall. My wife smiled at the fact that Thomas was also overdressed for the hot weather, wearing jeans like she was.
Our next destination was another small town called Stillwater. Most Minnesotans are very familiar with this cute little town. We enjoyed the sun and fresh air. Boats of various types and sizes created waves. A few people were fishing, but I did not see any of them being lucky that day. We ordered and paid for a meal over the phone from a local restaurant and received a call when it was ready to be picked up. While we waited for the food, I rested under the shade of a tree. We enjoyed the meal with Cheryl and John who came to join us at a public picnic table with a bit of shade. We have been busy with our own things and it is always good to know what other people in the family are up to.
It was around six o’clock when we decided to leave. We did not visit the local stores since most of them were closed due to the pandemic. That’s a good reason to come back in the future.