One Park at a Time: Rice Creek

It was a dreary day for a bike ride. I went anyway.

The sun was trying to burn its way through, but the clouds were not letting him.

This was the kind of day when shy creatures peak out of their hiding place, like the old man in the tree.

This tree warmed me, in a deep crackly voice, “Be ye careful. On the path ye stay. Be not climbing this day.”

He needn’t have worried. There are days for wild adventures, this was not one of those days. The air didn’t smell right.

I like this path along the creek and have been on it many times.

The first time was either the spring of 1987 or 1988, not sure which. In Minnesota, they count the number of 90F days during summer. So strange. I’m from the Deep South. It’s in the 90’s most every day of summer. No one bothers to count 90F days there.

That summer, Minnesotans were counting the number 100F days. Rice Creek was just a trickle of water. Sorry to say, no photos from that ride.


This past 2019 winter was the coldest and snowiest in decades.

Melting has filled the creek. I’ve not seen it so full before.

Spring is on the way and soon this brown path will be green.

Up on a hill is the mansion of an old witch. You can’t see the mansion when the sun is out. The witch is hiding. During an ominous stormy night, the mansion is three times larger than it is this day. On those nights, you can see bright flashes of green, purple, and orange colored lights of magic.

I’m sure the witch is practicing her magic now, but it’s too bright to see her show of colors. If I climbed up there I could see them, but those trees are not just trees. They’re sentinels.

There are different kinds of sentinel trees. Some become strange creatures meant to scare you away. Other trees will up root and chase after you. Not these trees.

These trees wait until you’re inside their perimeter, then they keep you from leaving, so the witch can catch you.

That’s the hill the warning tree told me not to climb. It’s always good to listen to a warming tree. It could save your life.

Some say the witch is hiding from a hero who wishes to kill her.

I think she’s plotting an evil deed and is waiting for the perfect mortal partner to execute her evil plans.

I’m certainly not going to be apart of her plan. I’m staying away.

On my way home, I passed a 38-foot wall. You can tell how tall it is by the giant jogging in the left bottom corner. He’s a little over 20 feet. You can see how much taller the wall is than him.

Some say there’s a village of people who live in there. They don’t know we’re out here. They think they are all alone.

Whatever is inside, those sentinel trees are there to keep us out.

I know it sounds like I was too scared to have a good time, but I did. It’s always good to get out for a ride and revisit a favorite path.

The moral of this story is:

There might be a few dangerous places along the way, but if you stay on the path, you can stay out of trouble and still have fun.