JUST DAYS AGO, the southern Minnesota landscape looked like autumn. But, after a record-breaking early snowstorm of up to nine inches of snow on Tuesday, this place I call home looks like winter.
Still, I need to share with you the last remnants of autumn, photographed during a Sunday afternoon drive east of Faribault and eventually into the Zumbro River Valley between Zumbrota and Oronoco. Randy and I felt the urge, the need, to take this final drive of the season, although we were really about two weeks late to see the fall colors. Yet, we found much to appreciate.
As usual, I collected photo stories. Drives into the countryside and into small towns yield many such stories that often go untold. Had the day been warmer than about 35 degrees, we would have stopped more than twice to walk in these small communities. Our plans to eat a picnic lunch at a park ended with us parked outside the Zumbrota Public Library eating our ham sandwiches, grapes and protein bars in the van.
I filled my camera with images as we began out eastward drive along Minnesota State Highway 60. I found myself focused on documenting the harvest. Farmers were out in full force on Sunday, sweeping across acres of cornfields to bring in the crop.
Countless times, we encountered farm machinery on the highway, which led to Randy reciting this sound bite: Farmer on the road! That became a familiar refrain each time we slowed behind or met a tractor or combine and attempted to safely pass.
We’ve traveled highway 60 so many times that I struggle to find something new and interesting to photograph. So I suggested exiting onto a gravel road southwest of Kenyon into Monkey Valley.
The name itself intrigues me. As legend goes, the area was named such after a monkey escaped a traveling circus many many years ago. True? I don’t know. But I like the story.
And I also like this rural route, Monkey Valley Hollow, a gravel road which twists and turns through the woods past farm sites and fields and the Old Stone Church (which I didn’t photograph this time).
After completing this leg of our day trip, we aimed north for Kenyon. I always find something interesting in this small town, even though I’ve been here many times. Check back for those photo stories tomorrow as I show you my discoveries.
© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Audrey: sometimes miss Minnesota, even the blizzards, I just go to https://mnprairieroots.com/ for a fix 😉 Thanks for sharing your images and descriptions 🙂
So sweet of you. Today you would not miss Minnesota with its mix of rain, sleet and snow. The sky was black as night earlier this morning. I’m talking between 8-9 am. It’s just bizarre, eerie really.
I was out walking in the dark this morning…between 8-9. Eerie is the word I used to describe it to my friend who I was talking with over the phone.
Monkey Valley – never heard of it. Another new place to discover. Thanks!
The exact same word, eerie, was my thought this morning when dark as dark as the middle of the night defined the morning. Very strange.
I think I need to put Monkey Valley on my list of road trip, loved all your photos. I LOVE off-the-beaten-path gravel roads.
Yup, another love we share.
I like the story of the name as well. I think it is true. 😁
I’m buying the story.
I too love off the beaten track road trips. I have lived in MN all my life and have never heard of this area. I enjoyed the trip through your photo lens. And oh what a story, one could write about a monkey escaping the circus and freely running about the valley
I wonder if anyone living in Monkey Valley has a more detailed account of the loose monkey.