Friday, July 29, 2016

Camping Wild River State Park with the Baumanns

After talking about it for forever, we planned a camping trip with Cayla and Amanda. I have also been wanting to do a backpacking site with Meadow for a long time too. Luckily these two were up for the adventure. 

When I checked in the ranger warned that due to the flooding the bugs were extremely bad right now. I figured, but had no idea how bad. Our hippie bug spray was doing nothing. Even with Cayla's "real" bug spray we were still getting attacked.

While attempting the hike in we ran into a mini lake along the trail. We said "Hell no," to that and decided it was time for plan b.

The ranger did mention that since we had a little one, if we wanted we could take a shortcut route near the edge of the park. Not quite the trek I had hoped for, but it still counts for Meadow's first time.

Sadly on our attempt hike I lost Meadow's wooden camera.

Despite the bugs we had a nice site.

Brooke and Amanda had the right idea as soon as the tents were up.

I used the setting up our beds as an excuse.

We were actually on a hill. 

More of a tiny bluff. I guess, that's a hill.


Going back a few years ago, this park was the first park Scott and I did a backpacking site. It only happened because the campground was full and backpack sites were available. We were like, yea sure how far can it be? We were also very inexperienced campers. 

 On that first adventure we had a duffle bag, camp chairs, firewood... 

 ...an air mattress, campfire popcorn maker, our tent and sleeping bags. We had no backpacks then, just a duffle bag.

It was an education in what not to do when backpacking. We're backpacking minimialits these days.

We made it about halfway before we ditched some of our stuff and made it to camp. It was getting dark and we had to get the rest of our stuff. We ran all the way back which was way farther than we thought. I hope nobody saw us, we must have looked like quite the site.

But hey, we'd never had started backpacking and so many other outdoor adventures without the first experience. And it was a beautiful place to camp with the love of your life.

Cayla cooked dinner for us using both of our camp stoves. We also enjoyed the Moscow Mules that the Baumanns brought.

I had contemplated doing one of the free canoe sites on the St Croix, but with the flooding I didn't know how crazy the rapids would be.

Amanda and Meadow always have the best time. She's so good with kids.

We ate a yummy veggie skillet from their garden.

Even though it wasn't cool we all put on long layers to keep away the skeeters.

By now the I think we were all getting used to the ravenous mosquitos.



Perhaps Cayla's fire had cleared them all out.



Or not. Meadow and Amanda enjoyed the tent while we discussed the election and other random things with Cayla.

But first we had to hang up our food. The ranger also warned that there had been extra bear sightings this summer.

Our tiny tent was the same size as Cayla and Amanda's vestibule.

We used our tiny tent again. Meadow loves it, since it's tiny, like her. I think we'll just go back to the Slumberjack next camp trip even if we hike in.

I don't mind the tiny tent.


Hey, the Baumann's also have a tiny percolator.


We cooked double oat-blueberry porridge for breakfast.

For some reason Meadow didn't want to eat. Amanda got her to take a few nibbles.

Not sure why, she loves breakfast!

We would have stayed longer, but the bugs kind of ruined the fun.

We were all ready to find somewhere to swim. Someplace without thousands of skeeters.


Next time, Wild River.

Of course on the way back Amanda suggested we go thrifting.

We'd planned on going swimming at Webber Natual Pool with them, but Cayla was feeling under the weather. We figured we should go swimming anyways since we were already there.

Last time we were here Meadow went right in, this time she stuck to the shore.

We couldn't leave until  Meadow tried the zipline.

Sure, Meadow you can get a few minutes of playground time in.


This kid would live at playgrounds if you let her.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Women Take the Kids Camping to William O'Brien State Park

Scott had to work this weekend, which kept us home for once. Seeing as this is my first summer in 8 years that I don't have to work weekends I couldn't just stay home.

She just can't. Sorry Minneapolis friends.

We thought maybe we could go camping for the night on Saturday. I suggested we see if any friends could go with us. Anna said yes, but it would be just her and the kids. So, I suggested we just have a mama-baby camping trip. 

Saturday afternoon we squeezed everyone into our Insight and headed to William O'Brien State Park.

Scott kept saying it was going to rain all night. Were we really still going to go? Of course.

It rained cats and dogs the whole way there. We set up the tent as quickly as we could, but there was still a lake in the middle. After hanging out in the tent the rain stopped and the clouds cleared. Oops I guess we could have waited.

We walked around the campground and the kids played in puddles. Everything was soaked already so why not?

I fixed our tarp in case the rain came back.

More puddle jumping.


Then we walked along the river.

The kids had fun throwing every thing around them into the river.

Lydia just wanted to jump in.

Eventually we made it to the flooded beach, had dinner and went to bed.

In the middle of the night we heard a loud cracking, a bang and then the tarp fall down. I thought maybe I had tied the tarp to a tree too tight causing it to snap. Anna and I got some flashlights and investigated. It turns out a large branch the size of a small tree fell down taking out one side the tarp and nearly missing our tent and car.

Meadow is a good helper.

After breakfast we explored the vistors center and of course I forgot the camera.

With everything wet and no where near drying, we packed up camp and headed back. 

When we got home Meadow had a belated birthday gift waiting. She had received a doll bike basket for her bike. As cute as it is sadly we are going to exchange it. I'm too afraid Meadow is going to drop her bike and its going to shatter into pieces.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Another Marine on St. Crox-Stillwater Adventure

It's our favorite time of year: berry picking season.

I think that's more of Brooke and Meadow thing, but I'll go along with it.

Meadow has been asking to go for weeks. I'm not sure how she knew about it since she hasn't gone since she was a wee little one. 

I made a giant breakfast before our adventure, plaintain and avocado toast, hash, eggs, cherries and strawberries.

Lots and lots of blueberries as far as the eye can see.

We went back to our go to berry picking farm, The Berry Patch.

"Look a tiny one for me!"

Meadow did an awesome job picking. She helped the whole time when she wasn't eating any.

I complained and ate the whole time.

We quit when the bucket was this high. Apparently we forgot that you pay by the bucket and not pint. We could have easily gotten another pint in there.

As I was taking Meadow to the bathroom I noticed the raspberries looked really good. We decided at $5 a pint we would only get one. 

Shouldn't these be cheaper since we're doing the labor?

I have to admit, pick your own farms are kind of genius. Why not have people pay YOU to do the work.


Until next year berry patch somewhere west of Marine on St. Croix.

We had planned to stop for lunch in Marine on St Croix. After deciding against getting sandwiches at the General Store deli we pondered where to eat.

We finally settled on the Brookside Bar and Grill after walking through the town.

It was pretty good despite the amateur pundits claims that it was nothing but average.

Can I live here?

Well, there is this place.

Next we headed to Stillwater for ice cream. The General Scoop was our go to ice cream place until we discovered Nelson's.

Obviously we aren't the only ones.

Scott thought that since the three of us were sharing one we should get a double. He clearly forgot how big their ice cream sizes are. 

I kind of miss General Scoop's reasonably sized cones.

Meadow is good at making the right faces in the cut out photo ops.

We were so full from ice cream I suggested we walk around to gawk at all the houses. Eventually that took us to downtown where Lumberjack Days was happening.

Meadow wanted to jump on the giant trampolines, but I don't think she's quite big enough.


Then we headed to Hudson for some swimming. The river was a bit high this year.

Our favorite beach was closed due to strong currents.

But there was a pirate ship docked along the spit of land.

We settled for the not really there beach on the mainland.

Another great summer day.