I’ve done it so many times in my life. I’ve shared the trails with many people as well. One of the people who has learned to appreciate those trails more than most is my 19-year-old daughter. This past Saturday when we were in Redwood Falls to decorate the graves for Memorial Day, she and I took some time and went down into Ramsey Park and wandered around the trails for a while. She wanted to take some pictures to show her friends, and so I decided to take a few pictures to show my blog friends as well.
These are the trails of what we would call my old “stomping grounds”. This is where I grew up. This is where I loved to spend my days when I was a kid in my later teens. I was very fortunate to have such a beautiful park so close to my doorstep. Why, I’d go out the door of our house and walk to the north, and within about fifteen minutes I was in a beautiful woodland, a park so gorgeous it has been called the “Little Yellowstone”.
Probably the biggest and best-known attraction of Ramsey Park is beautiful Ramsey Falls. People come from all over the country to see this waterfalls, and from around the world as well. Normally Ramsey Falls is a single cataract plunging to the ravine floor below, but in the spring when the water level is high from melting snow and spring rains, a second cataract becomes part of the falls, which you can see in this picture, off to the left of the main cataract.
When I was a teenager we had a cold winter when the falls froze completely over from top to bottom, and the creek below was frozen solid as well, and my brothers and I walked up the creek from farther downstream and saw the falls from down below for the first time. I wish we had a picture of that!
“Back in da old days” as they say around here, there was a scenic overlook from which the above photo of the falls would have been taken, an overlook that was built out of heavy timbers, including the fence to keep people from falling over the edge. I think most of my classmates remember that overlook. But now in recent months the whole scenic overlook area has been redone, with nice white concrete and a tasteful metal fence, as you can see in this photo. Now, not only is the footing more secure, but even the little children can stand right at the edge and see the falls without anybody having to be fearful of falling down the cliff and getting killed.
Because of the attraction of the wonderful scenery in Ramsey Park, steps have been taken to try and make it more accessible for, not only the physically disabled, but even for the common person as well. There are people who are otherwise physically capable, but would really prefer not to climb down a steep ravine trail to see a waterfalls. One of the steps that were taken was the building of this foot bridge you see in this photo. It made it possible for people to cross a ravine and get to the falls overlook much easier. And in the photo below you can also see some steps that lead down to the bridge. The steps were crumbling and falling into general disrepair, but they were replaced in the recent past, so once again they are relatively easy to climb.
In all truthfulness, for anybody who is really having difficulty getting around, the best way to see the falls is to drive down the access road and park at the bottom by the scenic overlook. That’s what I should really have done Saturday. I had a double chiropractic treatment on Friday afternoon, then hauled some pine branches and grass bags to the landfill, and I was sore! I know, I know, it was a stupid thing to do, but I have been known to do such things all too frequently. But my youngest daughter really wanted to walk the trails, and who better to guide her than myself? When I was a kid, I knew the park like the back of my hand. I would sit in class in school and draw maps of the park from memory. It was my place in the world.
I’m just so pleased that my kids are interested in the places that have always been important to me. Hopefully someday in the near future I will be healed up enough that I can take them down through the park with ease and comfort.
To be honest, this is not an exhaustive list of the attractions of the park. I haven’t even mentioned the zoo, the swayback bridge, the playground by the lower picnic area, all the shelter houses, the Zeb Grey shelter, the hairpin, and so on. (By the way, the swayback bridge is still in place, but is now closed. It seems the recent flooding has done some unfortunate damage to it, and it will have to be repaired if it is ever going to see automobile traffic again. I really hope they fix it up, because the park just wouldn’t be the same without it.
But if you ever find yourself going through Redwood Falls, Minnesota, take a little while and drive down through Alexander Ramsey City Park — the little Yellowstone! You won’t regret it!