Finally decided to head out to Hyland Lake to attempt the 2010 Trail Mix course this morning, but realized that I had forgotten the map (thanks for posting it Jeremy) and hadn't uploaded the course to my Garmin. In fact, the ol' Garmin has been acting up lately - freezing on runs, shutting itself off, etc. I'm still trying to decide whether to plunk down $150 for another 305 or wait until the newer 310X drops significantly in price.
Anyhoo, as I was approaching the park I started to notice signs that said "Event." Uh oh. "Events" usually mean the park is crazy busy and you can't always find parking. As I was pulling in, the kid staffing the booth near the entrance said that there would be a raptor release later in the morning and afternoon. Sweet! I've been to several releases by the MN Raptor Center, and it's something I never get tired of watching. I had gotten there early enough that I parked at my usual spot near Jan's Place with the other few cars - the crowds hadn't arrived yet :)
The trails are in excellent condition - no mud what-so-ever. Trees are pretty much leafed out and the tom turkeys are on the prowl for mates. Got back to Jan's Place just as the park staff and Raptor Center crew were setting up and getting the education birds out of their crates. I almost had them all to myself for a little while!
Female and Male Kestrel
Great Horned Owl
As it turned out, the release would not happen for another couple of hours and I was starving, so I bailed before they got around to that part. Perhaps I'll catch another one in the fall :)
Awesome day to be out on the trails!