May 8, 2019 Column
Updated: Jun 11, 2019
It was pretty slow in coming this year, but spring is here, and it’s time to get our Trail Guard program up and running. Our van is out of storage (thanks Bill and Kris Henderson), the park is open, and the kids are excited.
A lot has happened since our last official day of Trail Guards on October 27th of last year. We’ve hired our summer staff, turned the water on at the park, done some fund raising (thanks SO MUCH for your support), and put together a nice crew for our 12th annual May Bike Trip.
Our February “Moonlight Meander” (our 8th annual) was a smashing success after two consecutive challenging years. Our 2017 winter event brought a steady rain that made it hard to keep candles burning, and turned the trails into a muddy mess. Then last year’s event was cancelled at the last minute when heavy snow and wind made it nearly impossible for folks to make their way to the park.
Our summer staff this year includes Beth Schlangen (lead youth supervisor), Miranda Bundy (food service), and Rylan Christianson (youth supervisor). All are former or current Trail Guards, and we’re looking forward to a fantastic year.
We leave this Saturday morning on fully loaded mountain bikes to pedal down the Glacial Lakes Trail to Willmar and back. This rain-or-shine trip for eight kids and three adults includes a night of open camping in a beautiful woods between New London and Paynesville, and is always both challenging and extremely rewarding.
By “open camping,” I mean camping in the open woods with no amenities – no picnic table, bathroom, tent pads, water supply, or anything other than what the forest has to offer – an opportunity today’s kids don’t normally get. We haul water on our bikes to our campsite, dig a cat-hole latrine, feed wood onto the cooking fire, and take special pride in leaving the area in a totally natural state when we pack up and head for home Sunday morning to celebrate Mother’s Day with our families.
Save Sunday evening, May 26th (Memorial Day Weekend) as an opportunity for fun and support. The Shaw Band is playing a reunion concert in Lake Henry that night, and has allowed us to partner with them for a fund-raising opportunity. It’s going to be great fun, and we’ll have some fantastic silent auction items to take home with you.