Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hayes State Park: A nice retreat for the day

State parks when I was younger were something you had to drive to for at least an hour to camp, swim or hike.

So when I found out there was a state park down the road only a few miles from my now home of about six months in Clinton, I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to check it out.

W.J. Hayes State Park, located near Onsted in the Irish Hills, isn't a large park, but is a nice reprieve from the city life.

A few weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were looking to go somewhere on a Sunday afternoon, and wanted to have a picnic. After a little brainstorming, we ended up driving to Hayes to grill some burgers and enjoy the sunshine during the early June hotspell we had.

After having some difficulty with the grill (cheap charcoal and no lighter fluid = one frustrated griller), we were playing catch with a Frisbee when an unexpected guest crawled across the field leading up to Wamblers Lake: a big turtle.

I'd never seen a turtle that size before, and here it was, walking in plain view of everyone at the lake that Sunday. He was impressive.

Wamblers Lake in Hayes State Park. Swimmers flocked
to the lake earlier this month for a reprieve from the
hot summer temperatures. 
Also impressive was the lake. There were dozens of people there that day, looking to cool down and get some relief from the early summer heat. The lake had plenty of space for jet skis, motorboats and swimmers, all on a beach big enough for several families to enjoy the water.

There is a campground, but we didn't venture into it. There is a trail that goes up and down a hill at the park, linking the beach to the boat launch area. It's quite the walk, and perfect if you're looking for a workout.

Hayes is a nice little park for a day getaway in the area, and I'm looking forward to hitting its beach later this summer. The water looked clean, not to mention inviting. Not to mention a nice retreat for an afternoon. Just don't forget the lighter fluid.

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