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Backpacker Magazine – March 2014

Early Spring Hikes: Central

As soon as the ice thaws, take advantage of these season starters.

by: Sarah Stewart

(Aaron Peterson) Find sea caves a mile northeast of Meyers Beach
(Aaron Peterson) Find sea caves a mile northeast of Meyers Beach
(Tom and Pat Leeson) Mallards nesting in waterside foliage in March
(Tom and Pat Leeson) Mallards nesting in waterside foliage in March

Medium Loop, Carleton College Cowling Arboretum, MN

Nancy Braker
Northfield, MN

S
ee the first signs of spring on this 2.6-mile ski or snowshoe (with options to extend). Set out along Spring Creek, home to mallards and Canada geese. Continue along the partially iced Cannon River (begins melting in March), where bald eagles soar once the trout- and bass-filled water flows. At the fork at mile 1.3, either head back or turn right to add a 1.8-mile spur to a cattail marsh and mature oak-walnut forest. Trip data

Tiemann Shut-Ins Trail, Millstream Gardens CA, MO

Dan Zarlenga
St. Charles, MO


F
ollow the St. Francis River past whitewater on this 6-mile out-and-back. Hike 1 mile through a shortleaf pine forest to see Class IV and V rapids, where car-size granite rocks clog the river. (Time it for the Missouri Whitewater Championships occurring March 15 and 16.) Listen for barred owls hooting (even at midday) and pileated woodpeckers drumming en route to a sandbar picnic spur at mile 2. Turn around at Silver Mines Recreation Area. Trip data 




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