DRIVING ALONG A WINDING and steep ridge road toward Houston, Minnesota, on an October autumn afternoon, I am taken by the ruggedness of this land. Friends Doreen and Tom, who left the Twin Cities decades ago to settle in this area, warned my husband and me about Houston County Road 13. Yet, I was unprepared for the curves, the heights, for the vastness of the valley below, for the overwhelming feeling of smallness I experienced. I suppose others would say the same about the prairie—except for the height part. Familiarity equates comfort. And I suspect Doreen understood that a native flatlander like me might find her neck of the woods a tad daunting. I do. I am not a lover of heights.
But I have grown to appreciate this corner of southeastern Minnesota with its rolling hills and bluffs, density of trees and rivers. Add in the small towns therein and the ruralness of this region and I want to return again and again to explore. I’ll never love the heights, though.
I am always impressed at the diversity of Minnesota topography. Within hours, you can drive from plains to woods, hills to prairie. Trees or no trees. Lakes or rivers. City or country.
I love this state of mine. I truly do. Except for winter. I don’t miss the fierceness of a prairie winter. And I certainly wouldn’t want to deal with Duluth or Moorhead winters. And I imagine traveling southeastern Minnesota ridge roads in the winter could prove challenging. I take that tip from Doreen and Tom who are migrating south this winter to Texas.
BONUS PHOTOS from Houston, Minnesota:
Check back tomorrow as I take you inside a special attraction in Houston.
© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling