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February 2003 Winter Gear

Powder Hungry? Hike These Snowshoe Trails

Bust out of winter doldrums on one of these stellar snowshoe routes.

Minnesota

St. Croix River Ramble

Wild River State Park

Snow and Minnesota are nearly synonymous, and no place demonstrates the link better than this quiet park on the banks of the scenic St. Croix. The park boasts more than 35 miles of groomed ski trails, but snowshoers can avoid those tracks by stomping off into the woods. Venture out along the riverbanks to study the iced-over waterslides of resident river otters. Move quietly through the hardwood groves to catch fleeting glimpses of gray and red foxes, plus the occasional wily coyote. Waterfowl commute between the waterways and fields. Trumpeter swans and snow geese honk and holler overhead while raptors-including bald eagles-soar silently above in search

of a warm meal.

Guides: Minnesota’s St. Croix River Valley and the Anoka Sandplain: A Guide to Native Habitats, by Daniel S. Wovcha, et al. ($19.95). USGS topos Sunrise and Cushing (888-ASK-USGS; backpacker.com/mapstore; $6.95 each).

Contact: Wild River State Park, (651) 583-2125; www.dnr.state.mn.us/

state_parks/wild_river/index.html.

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