Winona County: Helping Complete your Bucket List

Most people I know have a bucket list, you know that list of things that you want to do before you kick the bucket. And for some, their list may be filled with things they will probably never get to do. However, for those of us who live, work, and go to school in Winona County there are activities to experience, that someone may never have thought of, to add to their list.

One of these is hiking up the bluff in John Latsch State Park, near Lock and Dam 5, just north of Winona. This might not sound like a big deal, but if you take into consideration that you have to hike 405 feet straight up the hill it becomes a little more of a challenge, something each Winona County resident has to do at least once in their lifetime. This is the challenge that I took up, on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Yes, I have done this hike before, however unlike some things on my bucket list, this was not a been there done that situation. On this day it was a I have been there and done that but I’m going to do it again situation.

Over 550 stairs wooden stairs make up the “Riverview Trail” in John Latsch State Park.

The sign at the beginning of the “Riverview Trail” said that this journey would be difficult and would take about an hour, I was ready. The trail consists of over 550 stairs and after 30 or so I began to get tired. A reason for doing this hike more than once is that you never see the same thing twice.

Ripe berries, are one of the things that, can be seen in the late summer along the “Riverview Trail.”

Different times of the year bring different stages of life to the forest, from seedlings to blooming flowers to leaves changing color in the fall. I get to see a lot of new things each time I hike up this trail. However, the best part is reaching the top, one because of the sense of accomplishment and two, the view of the river valley below.

The view of the Mississippi River valley from the bluffs overlooking John Latsch State Park make all the hard work worthwhile.

After I soaked in the view, took some pictures, and caught my breath I began the trip down the hill, which in some cases is even harder, on the legs, than the climb up. By the time I got back to the car, my legs were in pain and I was soaked with sweat, yet I was glad that I had once again made the journey. Because that is what life is, a collection of journeys.

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