On our way back from Winona this weekend the wife and I decided to hit some State Parks. We’re always on the lookout for “Brown Signs” and we often find wonderful gems when we randomly pull off the highway to check out something different that we’ve never been to before. This weekend we noticed John Latsch State Park as we were traveling up Highway 61. I hadn’t really heard of this park, so I was curious what it was about. It turns out that it’s a very small park, and it only has one main feature; a beautiful overlook on top of a bluff, 450 feet in the air.
To reach this bluff, you have to climb stairs that have been built on to the side of the hill. We weren’t quite sure what we were in for, but we decided to give it a try. Plus, a stair workout is great training for trails. It took a good 15-20 minutes to make our way to the top, and that included a bunch of pauses to rest along the way. However, when we got there, the view was amazing.
At 450 feet, it was like climbing a skyscraper, and at times my vertigo felt like it as well. I was happy once I reached the summit and felt more solid ground under my feet. It was a bit of a treacherous climb, not just because of the lack of railings at many points, but because many of the stairs were quite damp. If my wife and I weren’t seasoned trail people, I would have turned back in the first 50 feet. We had to know how and where to plant our feet to avoid slipping all over the place. The trip down was nearly as slow, as the wet stairs, and their uneven distance, prevented moving quickly.
Once we arrived back at the car our legs were screaming, but in a good way. Despite the pain, I’m glad we stopped and saw something we had never seen before.