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06/26/15

Permalink 09:06:15 pm, Categories: Adventures, 688 words   English (US)

Fathers Day weekend 2015

It was an off day for the boat, so we decided to create an adventure closer to home. Since my Dad's birthday and Fathers Day landed on the same weekend, we thought we would combine a trip south, visit my Dad and keep driving to a state park in Waterville, MN. The Sakatah Lake State Park looked like a great place to do some camping and hiking. It boasted a great biking trail as well.

Unfortunately, we arrived at Dad's facility right before they were to serve lunch, so our visit was rather short. Dylan did get a chance to tell him about his T-ball and wish him a happy birthday. We decided to press on, though it meant we would arrive at the campsite early given our 4:00 pm check in time.

We arrived to find the previous campers still at the site, so we walked some of the trails and saw the lake, killing time. We went into town and had an ice cream cone, came back to find them still there and we were still an hour early. So, we drove around and visited the town of Faribault.

We returned to the State Park after 4:00 expecting our site to be open and ready for us to set up. But it wasn't! The previous tenants had changed the sign as if they had it rented for another night, so we went to the office and talked to the Park Rangers. They couldn't find the renters and had no other place big enough for our tent.

Was our adventure cancelled?

Lucky for us NO! The Park Rangers offered us the use of the group camp site since it wasn't in use. It was big enough for 50 people, had four tables and a bunch of grills, a pit toilet on it and water! It was away from all other campers as well so we could let Bug run free. What an awesome turnout. We set up and Dylan played in the tent. He really enjoys it.

And Bug! He had a blast. It is amazing how things can sometimes work out for the best.

We set up camp and played around, had an awesome dinner of pork chops. corn on the cob and baked potatoes followed by a campfire under the stars. The bugs were out and had definitely found us, but we made due with extra sprays of bug junk, as long as we were by the fire and under the stars I was happy. The boy crawled into my lap and fell asleep shortly afterward. It was a long day so I can understand why he was tired. Troy picked him up and we put him to bed on in his sleeping bag. Troy and I returned to the fireside and watched the fire and the lightning bugs play. The stars came out and peeked at us through the canopy of trees around us. The bugs went to sleep, as they usually do, and it could not have been a more perfect night. Troy and I didn't want it to end. But eventually, we headed to the tent and sleep very well ourselves.

The next morning Dylan was up before the rest of us, crawled into bed between us and fell back to sleep. (Given how late we stayed up, I was very grateful he went back to sleep!). We all got up and enjoyed the sunshine and coffee and homemade carrot bread before deciding to do some hiking of our own. We'd seen lots of folks go past the campsite on their bikes and were ready to check it out.

Though the day was a bit muggy and the bugs were busy in the woods, the hike was a nice one. The trails are nicely maintained and not too hard (Dylan got tired toward the end of the hike, but Bug never did). I would recommend that area to anyone, especially if you're thinking of a biking adventure since the campsite is a part of the Singing Hills Trail.

After our hike we returned to the site and packed up and headed home. An excellent adventure!

Permalink 09:05:56 pm, Categories: Adventures, 688 words   English (US)

Fathers Day weekend 2015

It was an off day for the boat, so we decided to create an adventure closer to home. Since my Dad's birthday and Fathers Day landed on the same weekend, we thought we would combine a trip south, visit my Dad and keep driving to a state park in Waterville, MN. The Sakatah Lake State Park looked like a great place to do some camping and hiking. It boasted a great biking trail as well.

Unfortunately, we arrived at Dad's facility right before they were to serve lunch, so our visit was rather short. Dylan did get a chance to tell him about his T-ball and wish him a happy birthday. We decided to press on, though it meant we would arrive at the campsite early given our 4:00 pm check in time.

We arrived to find the previous campers still at the site, so we walked some of the trails and saw the lake, killing time. We went into town and had an ice cream cone, came back to find them still there and we were still an hour early. So, we drove around and visited the town of Faribault.

We returned to the State Park after 4:00 expecting our site to be open and ready for us to set up. But it wasn't! The previous tenants had changed the sign as if they had it rented for another night, so we went to the office and talked to the Park Rangers. They couldn't find the renters and had no other place big enough for our tent.

Was our adventure cancelled?

Lucky for us NO! The Park Rangers offered us the use of the group camp site since it wasn't in use. It was big enough for 50 people, had four tables and a bunch of grills, a pit toilet on it and water! It was away from all other campers as well so we could let Bug run free. What an awesome turnout. We set up and Dylan played in the tent. He really enjoys it.

And Bug! He had a blast. It is amazing how things can sometimes work out for the best.

We set up camp and played around, had an awesome dinner of pork chops. corn on the cob and baked potatoes followed by a campfire under the stars. The bugs were out and had definitely found us, but we made due with extra sprays of bug junk, as long as we were by the fire and under the stars I was happy. The boy crawled into my lap and fell asleep shortly afterward. It was a long day so I can understand why he was tired. Troy picked him up and we put him to bed on in his sleeping bag. Troy and I returned to the fireside and watched the fire and the lightning bugs play. The stars came out and peeked at us through the canopy of trees around us. The bugs went to sleep, as they usually do, and it could not have been a more perfect night. Troy and I didn't want it to end. But eventually, we headed to the tent and sleep very well ourselves.

The next morning Dylan was up before the rest of us, crawled into bed between us and fell back to sleep. (Given how late we stayed up, I was very grateful he went back to sleep!). We all got up and enjoyed the sunshine and coffee and homemade carrot bread before deciding to do some hiking of our own. We'd seen lots of folks go past the campsite on their bikes and were ready to check it out.

Though the day was a bit muggy and the bugs were busy in the woods, the hike was a nice one. The trails are nicely maintained and not too hard (Dylan got tired toward the end of the hike, but Bug never did). I would recommend that area to anyone, especially if you're thinking of a biking adventure since the campsite is a part of the Singing Hills Trail.

After our hike we returned to the site and packed up and headed home. An excellent adventure!

06/11/15

Permalink 07:22:14 pm, Categories: Adventures, 1119 words   English (US)

June 11-14, 2015 Apostle Islands

We arrived at the marina late on Wednesday evening after packing and driving up. We got to the marina very late and went to bed almost immediately. A late arrival means a late morning, but by noon we we had fueled up, pumped out and departed the marina. We were on our way. The weather was bright and sunny. We hoped to be able to sail about the islands as we made our way to the dock, but in the end only got in about an hour of sailing, though that hour was AWESOME!

The dog, unfortunately, might not agree with me. He had been having an issue with his back leg and unfortunately took a tumble down the companionway during a puff of wind and he was looking forward to reaching an island and a good long soak in the restoring waters of Lake Superior. Lucky for him, we arrived at the dock at Stockton in short time (around four hours) and found plenty of room for WhimSea.

We arrived in plenty of time to spend time at the beach, soaking Bug (with multiple stick throws and plenty of swimming). He was obviously feeling much better after just an hour at the beach. He was shivering with cold and ready for a break when we headed back to the cockpit to think about our plan for dinner.

We spent some time watching Troy sail his 'little boat' about the safe harbor. It always surprises folks to see it.

We retreated to the dock by the boat and pulled out the chalk. We all had a great time drawing with chalk. During the afternoon a boat from our new marina in Washburn pulled into the dock. They got settled and joined us on the dock for a drink and some good conversation and storytelling.

Here's some of our chalk drawings

After a relaxing dinner of chicken breast and vegetable couscous we retreated below decks as the evening got a little cool. Dylan and I had an early night of it, admittedly because I fell asleep putting Dylan to bed.

Friday morning and Troy awoke feeling poorly. He had been fighting a bug for most of the week and it clearly had caught up with him. Dylan and I sent him back to bed.

While Troy slept, Dylan, Bug and I spent some time at the beach. We threw sticks for Bug, rocks in the water, sand in the water. We just played. I am amazed at how easily both Dylan and Bug play in the water. I put my feet in and had to run back out, it was so very cold! But I have to say it was awesome playing with them. Being completely connected from all electronics, in the sunshine and fresh air, doing whatever our imaginations dreamt up. Dylan created a game for us to play that used his water shooters to get rid of all the sand in the cockpit. Then we got rid of all the sand on the dock. Eventually turning our attention to the chalk drawings we had made the night before. It didn't take long before we were both soaking wet from squirting each other, but the sun had come out nice and warm so the cold water was a welcome shock to our systems.

Troy got up feeling much better and the three of us had lunch and lazed about the boat. Since the campsites were all empty, we hoped to be able to have a fire and s'mores so the boys went to investigate. Unfortunately the trails were all muddy and wet, so no fire. Instead, we had a dinner of pork chops, sweet potatoes and pea pods below decks, followed by popcorn and a movie.

Saturday morning dawned beautifully. We had coffee and homemade cinnamon bread while making our plan for the day. We thought we'd try and sail-fish our way to the next dock so we put out the poles and prepared to depart the dock. We decided to head over to South Twin, the forecast being favorable for that dock and hoped it would be open. There was not enough wind to fish on so we took a straight route to the dock. Lucky for us it was open so we got settled and did some exploring on the island. We were hoping to find the air strip that used to be on the island but could not make it very far inland the fallen trees and foliage was so thick.

We enjoyed ourselves playing on the beach and throwing sticks into the water for Bug and rocks into the water just because. We decided to have a fire at the beach and have dinner there as well and set up for a relaxing dinner of grilled steak, red potatoes and broccoli. While we were getting things ready another boat pulled up and docked. Though not exactly without Troy's help. The owners strolled about a little and then did something so very weird. They grabbed a bunch of wood from the beach and walked over to the fire ring and through it on the fire. Course they apparently didn't realize that it was already LIT! I think they were trying to claim the firepit as their own, which is weird since there was another place to do a fire, they just need to turn right instead of left from the dock. We invited them to join us for a fire later, especially since they dumped wood on ours, but they didn't join us. Weird.

Regardless, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and s'mores and Dylan had his very first toasted marshmallow (without the chocolate and graham cracker).

Sunday morning and was absolutely beautiful. Our dock mates had apparently gotten up early and left (before we had even poked our heads up). So we were able to enjoy the beach, coffee and coffee cake before heading back to the marina. It was another windless day so we motored around the north side of the island (since we hadn't seen that side in a few years), and made a path for Washburn. We went to the east side of Madeline (first time), getting a good look at Big Bay and the homes on that side of the island.

We arrived at the marina and decided to run into town for pizza before we pack up the boat and drive home. We went to a local restaurant, packed up the boat and began the long drive.

It was a great weekend. We extended Sunday a little longer with the roundabout way we returned to the dock, but it was worth it to extend the time we spent on the water.

06/02/15

Permalink 07:04:09 pm, Categories: Adventures, 489 words   English (US)

May 30-31, 2015 South Twin Island

Posted by Karen A. Brown

Friday evening found us heading up to the new marina at Washburn in rain. It had been gray and dreary most of the day, but we were all looking forward to getting up to the boat and having a new adventure on Saturday night. After arriving, we packed up the boat and sat down to relax after the long day, and long drive. It didn't take very long and both the Boy and the Dog were sound asleep each on their own settee.

Saturday morning we awoke early. It was safety day at the marina and we planned to attend at least some of the talk sponsored by the Washburn Yacht Club. They offered information from the Border Patrol as well as from the Power Squadron. The best part was the information from the National Park Service where they information on the state of the islands after the long winter. It seems many of the docks were damaged with the heavy wind and waves and a number would require repair. Some were closed for the whole season including the docks on Sand Island.

Shortly after listening to the National Park Service, we departed the dock for parts unknown. As always in the Islands, the wind was not constant, but we had a pleasant sail nonetheless. The day started a little bleak and overcast, but become quite sunny as it progressed. It was one of those days when the spray from the bow jumped up and created diamonds in the sunshine. Beautiful!

We decided to spend the night at South Twin Island dock. We'd never been there before, but according to charts (and other sailors), we should have plenty of depth for WhimSea at the dock. They were right! We were docked by around 3:00 and had plenty of time to explore the island and play on the beach as is evidenced by Dylan's photo below. He had a great time burying his pirate ship and weaving a story of the adventures the ship had on the beach.

The weather promised to be a bit cold overnight with frost warnings predicted for the mainland, so we had a very short fire after dinner before retiring for the night. With all the sun and the wind (and the cold), everyone was ready to climb under a big pile of blankets relatively early. We all got a good nights' sleep that night.

Sunday morning dawned cool and clear with the sun quickly beginning to warm the air around us. We had the time for a leisurely pot of coffee and a full breakfast before we departed the dock on our way back to Washburn. A few hours later and we were pulling into the dock. While I miss the folks from Knife River desperately it is nice to enjoy our sailing adventures more, with more leisure time to return to port.

I look forward to the next adventure!

05/27/15

Permalink 10:22:58 pm, Categories: Adventures, 482 words   English (US)

May 23-25, 2015 Washburn Marina

Posted by Karen A. Brown

Memorial weekend 2015 we departed on our new adventure at Washburn Marina.

We arrived on Friday evening at Knife River after dropping a car off in Washburn. We were just in time to stop at one of our favorite restaurants in Knife, The Lighthouse, for a fish dinner, martini and a goodbye wish to our good friends who run the restaurant. It was nice to have a chance to say goodbye for now.

We headed to the marina and got a chance to visit with some good friends in the club house before boarding the boat and getting it ready for the night.

Saturday dawned sunny and bright. What a beautiful day. While we lamented our inability to sail (since the boat was in disarray), it did give us the proper motivation to get everything stowed and all of our projects complete in time for the planned departure on Sunday morning. It was a long day, but we pressed on and were actually able to finish in enough time to get out on the lake for a couple of hours, to raise the sails and make sure all was ship shape for our crossing.

We returned to the dock and the boys gathered Charlie and tied him to our stern while I finished the stowing effort. In addition to getting all the work done, we even got a chance to visit with some good friends and get in last hugs before we were to leave.

Saturday evening found us at dinner at the 'Castle', another staple while we are in the marina with our very good friends Dave and Debi from Rain or Shine. Dinner was bittersweet with the knowledge we were leaving hanging over me the whole time. It was hard not to think that our evenings out with them would be limited in the future. It was even harder not to remember the many times we enjoyed telling stories over a good meal.

Sunday morning found us ready to go and yet finding reasons to stay and chat up Dave & Debi. I had a very hard time saying goodbye and had to remind myself repeatedly that the move to the new marina would be opening up new adventures for us.

The trip across the lake was very uneventful with no wind whatsoever we were able to make a very direct trip across arriving in the new marina by 8:45 Sunday evening. Though we had planned to spend the night in the islands, the weather report predicted rain and wind with gusts up to 20 knots and we would much rather enter a new marina in a calm then 20 knots.

We are now looking forward to the next chapter in our sailing adventures. Washburn will open new areas of the lake to us and afford us more opportunity to explore the islands themselves.

As always, more to come!

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