Thirty Before Thirty

I turned twenty-nine earlier this month. At risk of offending many of you, THAT SOUNDS OLD. I know, I know: there's lots of life ahead of me, but as I can't quite quiet the tick-tock-tick-tock thoughts, and as I'm one of those goal-oriented dreamers, I've constructed a list of (almost) thirty Minnesota/nature/writerly things I'd like to experience before the big 3-0.

Here are my ideas so far:
Climb on top of a hay bale and sing something
Make a pumpkin pie from scratch
Canoe and fish for sunnies on St. John's University's Lake Sagatagan
Canoe through Lake Shetek to Loon Island
Revisit the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area
Visit Minnehaha Falls
Visit the Root River Valley
Go strawberry and/or raspberry picking
Take a friend to the Carver Country Reserve
Discover a new park
Learn to name and identify at least five new plants
Learn to name and identify at least three new bird calls
Explore some new place along the North Shore
Go cross-country skiing
Make an impressive snowman
Go ice fishing
Jump into a cold lake early in the swimming season
Revisit Quarry Park
Revisit the St. Croix River National Scenic Waterway
Revisit Pipestone National Monument
Visit a Science and Natural Area
Finish writing a short story set in one of these places
Publish something in a Minnesota publication
Volunteer this summer at some outdoorsy locale
Read three books set in Minnesota
Read three books by Minnesota authors
Become less freaked out by water snakes

Thoughts? To finish the list, I need your suggestions, people! If I'm really in love with this state as much as I claim, what do I need to do/touch/see/hear/smell/ eat/appreciate? And please don't anyone mention lutefisk. 


  1. Festivals! The state is crazy with festivals! Pick some out of the Twin Cities and make an adventure out of it!

    If you were/are a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, head to Walnut Grove; skip the main museum, which is pretty much schlock, and go to the Ingalls Dugout Site instead, which is surprisingly touching. And as long as you're there, mosey on over to the Jeffers Petroglyphs and explore.

    Or, since you've already visited Pipestone, maybe visit the other national monument, in the far opposite end of the state: Grand Portage.

  2. These are GREAT suggestions, Amy. Thanks so much. My mom and I read all the Wilder books when I was a little girl; I may have gone to the Dugout Site, but if so, it's not clear in my memory. Time to go back! Geez--so many options! :)

  3. I went to the Dugout Site after visiting the Museum, and I was pretty cranky--also a big fan of the Little House books, and the museum was way over the top for me (the Laura bobbleheads in the store was sort of the defining moment). So I went to the Dugout, not expecting much, but it's not all touristy and trashy, but instead very pretty and "real."

  4. Don't fret over 29 or even 30, in another 30 (which approximates my age) you'll be looking back at something that seemed pretty sweet.

    If you can't do them all I'd grab the canoe and go fishin' for sunnies. What could be better?

    Happy Birthday!

  5. Great list, Em, and great to have goals! Did you guys get a chance to visit the Arboretum in your neck of the woods?

  6. The MN Arboretum has about one hundred checks behind it, Lisa; I love that place! It's right on my drive home from work, so I tend to stop in often. I do love bringing people there, though... :) And Bill, it's hard to beat a day in the canoe, isn't it? Thanks for the comments, everyone!

  7. Initially I didn't see ice fishing on your list, something I do at least 25 times every winter. Dress appropriately, stay warm, and enjoy the fresh air. With luck you might even catch some fish (walleye is my favorite). Good luck.

  8. If you can believe it, Bill, I have never been ice fishing. Before I go this winter, I'll seek out your advice, for sure!

  9. What a cool idea! I'm going to give you a bunch of ideas even though it looks like you are almost to 30.

    In relation to ice fishing and winter activities, you could go winter camping, dog sledding, or take a polar plunge (brrrr)!

    My top suggestion is take a tour at Soudan Underground Mine State Park. You can travel to the bottom of an old iron mine 1/2 mile underground and learn some great history and geology. Then you could eat an authentic pastie.

    How about find and identify a fossil? You could visit Hawk Ridge in Duluth during the fall peak hawk migration. How about climb to the highest point in Minnesota (Eagle Mountain)? Okay, I'll stop now. Good luck!

  10. Amazing suggestions! I'm not sure what a dunk in ice-covered water would do to me, but the Soudan Underground Mine is an awesome suggestion! And pasties! And fossils! Man, there are simply SO MANY THINGS to do (and eat). :)

  11. I made the pumpkin pie from was this past daughter carved the pumpkin, I cooked the meat of the pumpkin and then blended it and shortly after I was adding the pie ingredients, adding them to a pie shell and oh my goodness...what a delicous pie...

  12. Emily, You have a wonderful bucket list - I hope to learn by reading here that you have crossed some of them off in the coming year. By the way...I'm 66 and don't even consider that old anymore (though I might have at 29!). Welcome to the Nature Blog Network!

  13. I might just try to cross off the pie-making this weekend; delicious! And Barb, thanks for the sweet comments. It's been great fun to hear from people near and far. I'm going to hop over to your blog!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts