Nerstrand Big Woods, May 26th.

On May 26th, Monday, we went to Southern Minnesota. I already posted up some pictures from Red Wing that day, but we also visited Nerstrand Big Woods State Park and Chimney Rock SNA (Scientific and Natural Area). Southern Minnesota really stands in contrast to Northern Minnesota, with hardly any pine trees. Nerstrand Big Woods preserves a large chunk of the Big Woods ecosystem that once covered a large area of south-central Minnesota. The forests are almost entirely deciduous trees. There were also a lot of unique plants and wildflowers that we had never seen before.

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Rural roads stretching to the horizon. There is a lot of farmland down here due to good soil.

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I don’t remember what this actually was, if it is an abandoned house or just a normal building seen from an angle through the trees, but I thought this picture looked interesting.

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The colorful Nerstrand Big Woods State Park sign.

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Somewhere near the parking lot of Nerstrand Big Woods if I remember right.

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Nerstrand Big Woods was very lush.

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This unusual looking plant is called Jack-in-the-pulpit. It reminds me of a pitcher plant, which we have up north, but pitcher plants grow in bogs.

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In some areas of the park, there were fields of ferns like this.

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This picture almost looks tropical. The ferns were beautiful.

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I had never seen a fern like this, it is called the Maidenhair Fern. The circular shape and the thin black stalks make it stand out.

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A small stream.

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Kind of a cool way of doing a bridge, just standalone stone blocks that you step between. This is over the river that leads to a waterfall.

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Our goal was to see the waterfall, but we got a bit confused with the directions to it, and ended up going the long way around. It took a bit longer, but it was worth it to see all of the different plants.

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Wild Geranium.

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This was a bit tricky to identify but I think it is Swamp Lousewort.

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Not sure what this plant was.

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Whether it was ferns or smaller plants, the forest floor was very green.

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I have no idea what this plant is. I tried looking in a wildflower identification book and online, but cannot figure it out.

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It is tough because I don’t know what color the flowers will be when they bloom. It has a unique leaf structure though, the top leaves on the stem are fused together.

We timed our visit to Nerstrand Big Woods perfectly, as there were no mosquitoes yet. Different flowers should be in bloom throughout the season; as long as you prepare for the bugs, it would be an interesting visit anytime. After leaving Nerstrand Big Woods, we visited Red Wing, which I talked about in the post “Red Wing Revisited”. Then, on our way back, we stopped to visit Chimney Rock SNA, written up in the post by the same name, “Chimney Rock SNA”. Thanks for reading!

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