LAST SATURDAY, WHEN I NEEDED an escape into nature, Randy and I drove to the northwest side of Faribault and a favorite outdoors destination, the Faribault Energy Park.
I anticipated our walk there along dirt trails that wind past ponds. Even with Interstate 35 in sight and traffic droning in the background, I still enjoy this spot.
The openness of the landscape, the tall grasses and wildflowers (when in season) and the mix of wetlands remind me of the prairie.
I delight, too, in the birdsong and the glimpses of red wing blackbirds, waterfowl and other birds. I don’t like, though, the dogs sometimes unleashed here by irresponsible dog owners. This isn’t a dog park. On one occasion, a large dog jumped on me, slicking me in mud. This is not OK and it angers me when people have no respect for others.
But on this Saturday, there would be no walk through the Energy Park, no dogs to dodge. The gate into the park, typically open from sunrise to sunset daily, was closed and locked. I didn’t understand, until I observed police vehicles and a group of law enforcement officers gathered nearby. Later I would learn of a shooting in a local hotel parking lot and the hunt for a suspect in the northern industrial park where the Energy Park is located.
My plans to escape into this natural setting vanished and so we went to Plan B, a walk along the trail in North Alexander Park, a favorite spot bordering the Cannon River. Seems others had much the same idea. The park and trail were busy.
I still prefer the mostly undiscovered Energy Park. I hope the gate will be unlocked this weekend, when the weather forecast calls for sunshine and 60 glorious degrees.
Note: I took the above photos in mid-March at Faribault Energy Park, which is owned by the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency.
© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling