for free!
show related photosets
Banning State Park
1 Photoset

mini location map2012-08-20
15 by photographer avatarAZLumberjack
photographer avatar
Banning State ParkCentral, MN
Central, MN
Hiking avatar Aug 20 2012
Hiking6.00 Miles
Hiking6.00 Miles   3 Hrs   30 Mns   1.71 mph
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Banning State Park has been on my radar this year as an autumn destination for fall colors so I had to familiarize myself with the park and what to expect. The park resides alongside a scenic stretch of the Kettle River that is very popular among canoeists and kayakers due to a 2-mile long stretch of challenging rapids. The river narrows down to a gorge with 40 foot high walls in a section known as Hell's Gate.

In the 1880's there was a large stone quarry operation at the site and the pink tinted sandstone was in high demand for large buildings. In the early 1900's building construction was changing to steel framed buildings and the demand began to drop off and finally stopped entirely by 1905. The town of Banning was soon deserted and all equipment from the site was removed. A rail spur had been built to ship the stones and it too was dismantled.

The major trails through the park follow the old rail right-of-way so hiking is relatively easy and all trails are well marked. Some old concrete structures remain alongside the trails and there are piles of large moss coated rock slabs that were left uncut and unused. You're still able to clearly see the drill holes where the rock drillers worked holes into the solid rock, then filled them with dynamite and blasted massive slabs of rock from the face of the wall.

I easily convinced my brother to accompany me on this easy hike hoping to myself to take his mind away from the cancer that is taking control of his body. We enjoyed the fresh scent and quiet of the forest on a sunny warm, late summer day. Doug was enjoying rock hopping along the cliffs above the river, dodging the "Pot Holes" that, centuries ago, were carved by the river swollen by glacial melting. Some of the Pot Holes, also known as "Kettles" were 10 feet in diameter and more than 25 feet deep. The coarse of the river has opened one side of the Kettles allowing the adventurous to enter them during low water conditions.

On our way out, we found the main park road and began walking towards the parking lot where the Explorer had been parked. It was soon obvious that we had come out on the wrong trail and the SUV was farther than we had thought. I told Doug to pull up a log and sit down while I went on to find the parked car, then come back and get him. As I rounded a corner, a sign indicated that the parking lot was another 1.25 miles further down the road. I really worked up a sweat on a fast walk as I hustled down the gravel road.

But I found the Explorer where it should be and went back to get Doug, who by now, was getting worried about me. It all ended well and soon we were on our way back to Doug's house where we could rest up a bit before I had to head back to the Twin Cities.

I'm very concerned about Doug's long-term outlook as he finds out more about the cancer that has been recently diagnosed. It appears doubtful that he will travel to Arizona this winter, so this may be one of our last outings together......Love you Brother
On every trip into the Superstitions, I find another Gold Mine. Today the mine was filled with Memories. I can not wait for the next trip.
HAZ Member
379 Photosets

1 ... 13,  14,  15,  16,  17,  18,  19  

end of page marker