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Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

This afternoon we went for a walk at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. It is located in Bloomington and there is no charge for admission. The visitor center was open and there are lots of brochures to choose from. In addition, they have Field Packs that follow the numbers along the trail. The packs are free and include binoculars and an audio trail guide.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

View from the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

The bees were having a good time on this bush.

Bees on Bush

We went on the Hillside Trail that is considered “strenuous” and is a 1/2 mile loop down the side of the bluff. The trail starts with some nice steps heading downwards.

Then the trail became a smooth gravel.

Hillside Trail

Just a little ways down the road, a bench awaits those who need to take an early respite.

Bench

Further down the road, the area was a little swampy. Luckily we didn’t have to walk in that direction.

A viewing area was just ahead. The walk downhill was not very strenuous at all but good walking shoes are a must.

Hillside Trail

This area was very pretty. To the left was a pond that looked like it was filled with algae. One could almost inhale the green color.

Hillside Trail

And now to make the return trip to the visitor center. If one takes their time walking uphill, the trail is really not that bad — although, it is the equivalent of climbing 12 stories.

Hillside Trail

On the return walk, we had the pleasure of seeing a monarch butterfly.

Monarch Butterfly

And some coneflowers – echinacea?

Coneflower – echinacea

Driving to a different part of the refuge, we came across an old bridge that we could not cross.

Dilapidated bridge

This next trail went all the way back to the visitor center — over 40 minutes away. At first we decided not to take it but then we saw the small trail to the left and thought that it might be less of a walk.

Which trail to take?

We took the very narrow trail being careful not to go into the grassy area to avoid any ticks or other bugs — the bug repellant was in the car but we didn’t think we’d need it.

Very narrow trail

Another murky looking pond …

The highlight of this trip was a bush that had a large bumblebee on it — notice the ant in the background also.

Bumblebee, SimplyNorma.com

Overall, a pretty day, a nice walk and only one mosquito bite.

 

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