McCarthys Miss The Mark in Minnesota

Well here we are.  The LAST day of our two week, cross country road trip.  We decided that after an entire day of driving through extremely uneventful Eastern South Dakota  and Western Minnesota we would stop and stay two nights at a Holiday Inn in Winona, Minnesota.  In my disparity to leave the confines of the car I think I might have made Winona out to be a bit more exciting than it actually it.

It is in fact not that exciting.  The hotel is clean and we were smart enough to spring for a suite and lock down a rollaway bed, but today we found ourselves sitting in a riverside restaurant wondering what in the hell to do with these mangey little rascal children of ours.  ( I probably do not have to tell any of your that by day 13 of vacation we are all looking a bit worse for wear.)  So over a plate of Poutine (which was actually really amazing) and beers I took to the trusty internet and consulted my new bestie Tripadvisor for some daytime activities to do.

Hmmmmm.   It seems even Tripadvisor is pulling straws here in Winona.

The day’s chosen activities came down to bowling, a movie (dicey choice with the twins) Target (I Love that this was the fan favorite destination) and hiking.  In the name of activity and adventure hiking won. We decided on trying out the John A. Latsch State Park.  It looked nice enough, lots of trees and nature surrounding a wooden stair climb up to the scenic lookout over the Mississippi River.  We hiked up mountains in Colorado, we exercised at 10,000 feet everyday, we did the Black Hills of South Dakota, how hard could this jot up a hill in Minnesota be?


Oh my God.  Soooooooooo freaking hard.

We started up the path and immediately realized that the next 400 steps would be straight up.  No switchbacks and no slow grades, just straight up pliometric-style.  It took us only fifty stairs to realize that the rickety, wooden assholes were about as tall as the twins so they would need serious assistance up the climb.  The big girls had no problem at all hopping up the steps, my husband and I, who both did hard runs this morning, were huffing and puffing within five minutes.

Then came the mosquitos.  I have truly never in my LIFE seen so many blood-suckers in front of my face.  We started to move faster in a failed attempt to reach the summit.  I tried to quit about every twenty feet, but my husband urged us on.  It was miserable.  My lungs were burning, my legs wobbled like never before and the insects feasted on my flesh, yet I continued to climb one half of a mile up into the sky.

Finally we all reached the top!  Sweet, sweaty success!  Unfortunately all it took was one glance around me to fill with that old familiar sense of anxiety and dread that often comes with being so high above the ground.  The drop was steep…like you will DIE…steep.  Not a great combination with this crew of mine.  No guard rails, no gentle slopes to slow you if you slip, just plain old fall and die!

Between the anxiety, the elevation and the exhaustion I had to take a seat right there in the dirt.


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The climb down really wasn’t much better.  The mosquitoes were again relentless and the twins had to be carried the entire way.  I could barely keep my balance down the steep steps and Sam fell at the very bottom and rolled.

In conclusion if you ever do pass through Winona, MN. be sure to skip this hell-hike, but hit up The Boathouse and give that Poutine a try.

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20 thoughts on “McCarthys Miss The Mark in Minnesota

  1. You’re a hoot Lady! I laughed and felt sorry for you at the same time. I’ve been on similar hikes in my youth. Can’t try it now, thank the Lord.

  2. omg I felt your pain through every single word there. I freak when I’m near any sort of ledge with my boys so that one really hit home here. You’re right, I’ll pass on that one thanks!:)
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

  3. Hahaha! I’m dying. I had to read this aloud to my adult daughters who are all here for the weekend. We’re all laughing but we’re laughing with you. We remember family vacations. And honestly, the way you write makes it all just hilarious.

  4. tehe it is such an achievement to have climbed it though hun? I don’t envy you with all the mosquitos. Home soon eh? Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

  5. Oh wow what a fun afternoon for you all… hmm… perhaps the cinema didn’t seem so bad after all. But well done to you and your crew of making it to the top and not falling off! Hope you have all recovered now. Thanks for joining us at #famlyfun

  6. I feel you with the climb and the height and the insects, but oh my goodness – to me anything that comes with a chance to see the Mississippi river is worth doing. 😉 Hope you had a brilliant holiday. Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam x

  7. Yes, always harder than you think! I grew up in an area with lots of hikes like this, and I was always freaked out by being at the edge on top of the peaks, as was my mum – my sister would go right to the edge though! Thanks so much for joining us for #FridayFrolics

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