"Lake that Speaks" Luminary Hike returns to Lac qui Parle State Park

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Montevideo American-News
The hike's featured luminaries are made from ice and real candles each year.

Lac qui Parle State Park is preparing for the return of the "Lake that Speaks" Lumiary Hike after last year's COVID-related cancellation of the event. This year, the event that has been held since 2015, will be held on January 15th, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The hike is held in the lower campground of the State Park. "In the winter, we close the gate to the lower campground, and that area is left to Cross Country Skiiers and whoever else goes out on our trails in the winter depending on the snow amount," says Lac qui Parle State Park Manager Terri Dinesen. The route used for the luminary hike is the road itself, equalling less than a mile each way, ending at the historic WPA-era warming shelter. "If we have any amount of snow, we pack it," says Dinesen. 

There is no equipment required to take part in the hike, but those who would like to ski or snowshoe can. "We do have people over the years that have brought headlamps in, and have skis on, but this went is on the road, on packed snow," Dinesen says. 

The route is lined with luminaries that are created each year that the State Park employees create by filling five-gallon buckets, filled two-thirds of the way with water, and left to freeze overnight. "It leaves a hollow place, so when you drain the water out in the morning there's a place for the candle to go in. We use real candles, so there's an ambiance - a brightness," sats Dinesen. She also notes that the State Park does advise that attendees bring a flashlight in case they are needed, and dress appropriately for the weather. 

S'Mores and cocoa enjoyed at a previous year's "Lake that Speaks" Luminary Hike at Lac qui Parle State Park.

Additionally, refreshments will be provided this year by way of packets with s'mores ingredients, and packets of cocoa, so that guests can make their own refreshments to follow COVID protocols. There will be a fire lit in the historic warming shelter, with plans to have the door open for airflow, as well as an additional fire outside. "So if it's cold out, people need to dress appropriately," says Dinesen. "The only place to stay warm is right next to a fireplace."

The event is free to attend. "We hope people show up," says Dinesen. "We put a lot of work into this. If people appreciate this kind of stuff in their area, they really need to come out." The park receives no extra funding for the event, but hosts it as a way to get the public to experience and appreciate what the State Park has to offer. "We just want people to come out and enjoy an hour or two in the evening," says Dinesen.

Parking for the event is at lower Lac qui Parle State Park. Those traveling to the event should follow signs to the park. Anyone interested in more information can contact the state park at 320-734-4450, ext. 229.