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Photographing SoMinn: Nerstrand Big Woods State Park & Whitewater State Park

September 26, 2019

My college reunion in the town of Northfield was complete and I was feeling less than refreshed following a night of forced sleep in a campus dorm room.  What one won’t do for a taste of nostalgia.

My husband was also a bit groggy.  Maybe a Sunday hike would do us some good?

Nerstrand Big Woods State park – created in 1945 — was a natural choice.  Located about 13 miles south of Northfield, the park was conveniently en route back to Rochester.

We had once visited the park when the forested autumn tapestry was rich in brilliant shades of gold and red.  Now everything was green.

Hiking options were abundant and unfamiliar but marked paths, including the Basswood Trail, lead to such treasures as Wild Geraniums and Hidden Falls; children and dogs splashed in the waters of Prairie Creek on our June visit.

It was the Fourth of July, and, despite the soaring temperatures, we decided to hike another Minnesota gem a bit closer to home.

Whitewater State Park, located in Altura, is a vast 2,700 acres.  Deep ravines and limestone bluffs make it a popular park to explore.   The Whitewater River and Trout Run Creek draw anglers and a swimming beach provides a cool respite from summer heat and humidity.

Hiking boots, fishing pole, swimsuit and camera…’re all set.


Photos and text by Elizabeth Nida Obert

Freelance writer and photographer Elizabeth Nida Obert, a former newspaper staff photographer for 18 years, has degrees in both and is passionate about telling stories in words and pictures.  She thrives on travel and adventure and is always looking forward to where the next open road – or door – will lead. 


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