Hard to believe it is already April and we still have the lingering effects of winter here in the Lake Region. With the power of the springtime sun it won’t be long before we start to notice that white stuff on the ground we call snow start to disappear.
For those patiently waiting for the 160,000 acre lake to thaw so they can dust off the long rods for fishing season, there are still plenty of outdoor activities to take in here in the area that will help cure even the worst case of “spring fever”.
There is something to be said about the feel of sunshine on the face and the smell of fresh spring air after a long drawn out winter. Here are a few ways to get out and enjoy the great outdoors right in our backyard.
1. Go for a Hike
The Devils Lake area is home to some hidden gems when it comes to hiking. Most think the flatness of our state reduces our ability to have scenic hikes but that is not the case. Head south of town a few miles to White Horse Hill where you will be greeted by a few different challenging hikes. Take in one of six different trails that range from a short .08 mile to a strenuous 1.40 mile. Or head over to the overlook and take the 181 steps up to the elevated platform that gives you a birds-eye view of the surrounding area.
Another great place to hike is Grahams Island State Park. Situated about 15 miles from the town of Devils Lake sits this pristine state park that is nestled on the shores of lake that is home to two different hiking trails that wind through the trees and gives you a lake side vista.
2. Go Birding
The Lake Region is a mecca for migrating birds and come springtime we have are home to a lot of birds traveling north to their nesting grounds. With the 160,000-acre lake in our back yard and Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge there is sure to be a lot of ground to cover on your birding quest. Grab a good pair of binoculars, a bird identification book and a tank of gas and you will be in for a fun day on the prairie.
3. Look for Sheds
I don’t mean looking for garden sheds, but instead deer antlers that have fallen off over the past winter. Find protected areas where deer would seek refuge in the winter, treed areas and south facing openings are prime spots. There are some tracts of public land and PLOTS land that you can spend a day looking for sheds and also remember that asking landowners for permission on private property is always a best practice as it will go a long way with them in the future.
4. Have a Picnic
There is nothing better than enjoying a nice meal outside on a warm spring day listening to the sounds of nature. Our local park district has a few different picnic shelters that can be utilized for a nice outing. An all-time fan favorite is heading out to Grahams Island State Park where you can enjoy a bite with great company while the waves of the lake lap up against the shore.
5. Take a Lake Tour
For those that have never seen the entire Devils Lake watershed, this can be an eye-opening tour. Stop by our visitor center and get yourself an area map and literature on the history of the lake. This can be an all-day venture as you witness firsthand the amount of the land the lake has swallowed up since the early 1990s. Make a pitstop at one of the local restaurants on your drive to enjoy some local cuisine and be sure to roll your windows down and soak up that fresh air.
6. Star Gaze
Devils Lake is home to some of the best star gazing one can witness, being located many miles from any major city our area has very little light pollution and a short drive out of town will provide you with some “stellar” nighttime views. If you’re lucky you may even catch a shooting star and make a wish!
These are just a few of the ways us locals cure “spring fever” here in Devils Lake and with any luck you can as well!