Picture: Fort Snelling State Park, St Paul MN
After being on the train for 9 hours, it cannot be better to enter into a natural park trimming with trees and lakes that generate tons of fresh air for me to breathe in.
Fort Snelling State Park, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota River, does not have any mountain range, but visitors are surrounded by stunning lakes, lush forests and beautiful hiking trails. As the fort itself requires a separate visit and I only have one day to spare, I prefer to stroll through the park slowly and enjoy the rare sunshine at the mainland coldest state in November.
Even though my visit was at the end of the Fall, the park prepared itself perfectly to greets the beginning of the winter. The road and trails are paved with yellow fallen leaves that even a slight breeze can blow them away. The park turns out to be a peaceful area to visit on a Wednesday morning as I did not experience an influx of families and joggers. Strolling along the river bank, I only see a mother with her two children and two fishers littered the place. We each friendly say “hello” and two pro fishers both have some trophies on their hook, but they are more than happy to demonstrated us how to process the fish.
After two hours long walking, I discovered a huge patch of grassland. Rather than dining at an upscale French restaurant, I used this green land as a picnic spot to hang loose and pleasantly enjoy the warm of the sun. A friend called from NJ saying she has to snowplow the driveway two days after my departure. After 10 minutes phone-chat, I feel so blessed that I have reached a faraway land so I won’t be freezing to death.
Before the dark approaching, I hopped on my vehicle headed to the airport to return it then to the train station. Commuting from airport to Amtrak station takes an hour. Susan, a new Chinese friend I met on the metro, helped me to reach the train station. I feel lucky that I met my own people in a strange city, and we talked and laughed along the way until she hit University of Minnesota, two stops ahead of me. I was reminded that I will set my feet in my next destination after thirty-seven hours train ride.
A lovely stroll through the state park, an amazing view I have enjoyed, new fishing skills I have learned, and new friends accompany me when I am alone in an unknown place – I have ever thought my first trip to Twin City would end in such surprising way, but that is what travel for – explore a new environment and meet new people.
Travel can be jaded sometimes, especially when you constantly keep yourself adrift for quite a long time while too ambitious with your itinerary. After visited hectic metropolitan district during rush hour, woke up in the dead of night to catch the early morning flight, and followed the hefty travel schedule, it was a huge relief to make a beautiful stop, stretch my legs,get some fresh air and enjoy the natural wonder on a bright day.