Dick Herfindahl: Daydreaming can fill void between seasons

Published 9:47 pm Friday, January 10, 2020

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


It seems almost impossible that Christmas and New Year’s have both passed by and the year 2020 is well underway. This is the time of year when the dreaded winter blahs can take control of my thought process. What can you do to cure those nasty winter blues? I’ll tell you what works for me: daydreaming about a summer adventure.

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At this time of the year especially, I have a tough time not thinking about summer, fishing and sitting around a campfire. It seems to make the winter go by faster when you can anticipate and/or daydream about the upcoming season.

Yes, an argument can be made for not wasting your time daydreaming, although for me it is time well spent. I have pretty much been a dreamer my whole life, so as I move into the “golden years” I can go places in my mind that my body can actually no longer go. People often refer to the things that they want to do later in life as their bucket list. I guess if I were to refer to it I would have to call it a bucket novel.

I still have that dream of camping at a National Forest campsite on Spider Lake, even if it’s only for an overnight. I would love nothing better than to wake up early, fish for a couple hours and then go back to camp and whip up a breakfast. There’s nothing better, to me, than potatoes, bacon and eggs cooked over an open fire or on a camp stove. It always seems like food tastes so much better when prepared outdoors. This particular daydream and others, gives me the fuel to venture through the rest of winter.

I actually believe that being a dreamer or having a vivid imagination is great for kids and adults alike. A vivid imagination can lead to creativity which fuels the mind. I have never had any formal training when it comes to writing, but when I think back to my high school days I had an english teacher named Grace Dahle who encouraged me to write or at least gave me the knowledge to use words correctly in a sentence or phrase. Later on, my friend Jim Lutgens, was the sports editor at the Tribune at the time and the one who actually got me started writing my outdoors columns. For that I am eternally grateful.

If you want to do a little dreaming and plan for an outdoors adventure this coming summer or winter if you are a little more adventuresome, here are a few ideas:

Your outdoor fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down! Pitch a tent and spend the night in a Minnesota state park or recreation area. You can attend evening events or spend the night around a campfire roasting marshmallows and telling stories. Whether you’re roughing it in a tent, or taking it easy in a cabin, you can find the perfect spot for a vacation in a Minnesota state park, recreation area or forest.

State forests provide more than 2,000 miles of forest roads and thousands of logging trails, including 46 campgrounds with 1,000 campsites. State parks offer more than 5,000 campsites or a variety of cabins, guesthouses and other lodging. Plus, there are thousands of miles of rugged or paved state trails and state water trails that can lead you there.

Purchase a vehicle permit today and get a year of unlimited visits to all of Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas.

The State Forest campgrounds are either free or relatively inexpensive and a great way to have an outdoors adventure. Not everyone is wired for a totally rugged outdoors experience so that is where State Park campgrounds might just be the way to go. Some State Parks offer rustic cabins to rent by the day or week and they are inexpensive compared to some campgrounds.

Minnesota state forests offer four different rustic camping opportunities—take your pick! Dedicated campsites generally include a cleared area, fire ring, vault toilet, picnic table, garbage cans and drinking water.

Individual campsites

Available on a first-come, first-served basis, and provide only basic camping amenities. Individual campsites are designated for individuals or single families. Fees collected on site.

Group campsites

Group campsites are designated for larger groups, and provide only basic camping amenities. For more information, call the state forest’s campground listed contact.

Dispersed camping

If you enjoy camping far from others and with no amenities at all, dispersed camping is for you. With dispersed camping, you must camp at least one mile outside of designated campsites or campgrounds on state forest land. No fee. First-come, first-served.

For a listing of all state forests, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_forests/camping.html.

For information about accessibility of state forest campgrounds and day-use areas, see state forests with accessible features.

Until next time, I encourage everyone to keep area police Officer Arik Matson, who was shot and critically wounded, in your thoughts and prayers. Please take a few moments to also honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. Also, take a little extra time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who have served and those troops serving today.