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Archives for: 2015


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 09:01:16 pm, Categories: Adventures, 543 words   English (US)

April 25, 2015 Our first camping adventure!

We had our first camping adventure!

On Saturday we awoke early with the promise of a beautiful sunny day and multiple adventures. Dylan had been asking to take a train ride adventure, and, as fate would have it..... the Northstar announced an open house event at their Big Lake facility that included a free train ride to Minneapolis and back.

So, we would go!

We packed the car chock full of all the camping gear we could think of (including the Dog!) and headed north. We arrived at the Big Lake facility where Dylan was able to take his very first bus ride to the maintenance facility where they take care of the trains themselves. Metro Transit had tables and tents set up, free gifts (key chains and pencils) for the kids and of course the chance to meet Skip Transit! They also had a number of the Metro Transit police and their K-9 partners there. Dylan got a chance to meet with them all (and pet them of course).

Afterward, we took the bus back to the train area and boarded the train bound for Minneapolis. It was a direct trip there and back without stopping. We were able to secure a table on the top story of the train car so Dylan had a great view of the countryside.

After the train ride, we let Bug stretch his legs a bit and then went off to find the Ann Lake Camp area. It turns out that I am absolutely horrible at reading the maps that Troy prints out. I got us just a little bit off track. Eventually Troy got us back in the right direction, we found the campground and picked out a site.

While it was a bit windy putting up the tent (for the first time I might add), we eventually got everything all set up and were ready to explore. While we were setting up camp, Dylan and Bug had a ball chasing themselves around the campsite. In the tent, out of the tent..... they were happy, it was great.

We had a nice relaxing afternoon, topped off with stuff pork chops for dinner and a beautiful sunrise. The moon rose earlier and Dylan spotted it above us early in the evening. We roasted marshmallows for smores and watched the stars come out (each one pointed out by Dylan excitedly) before retreating to the tent as the last of the sun disappeared and the cool, clear night took over.

I have to admit that it was cool that night. I think the low was 32 degrees. At one point, all four of us were in the same bed together, keeping each other warm. We didn't really rough it, with air mattresses, a camp kitchen, a drip coffee maker and warm water and all..... but it was a great time.

The next morning the air was bracing, but as the sun rose it warmed the air. Dylan and I got up together and he showed me the lake and all the sparkles on it (the sunshine reflecting). The lake had visitors from all sorts of fowl from ducks to trumpeter swans. It was a great campsite and very quiet (unsurprising given the weather). I would recommend it to others!


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