Camping Round 5: This Time With Friends at Mille Lacs and A Detour to Stillwater

We had planned on going camping again, but hadn't decided where to go when some Northside friends invited us to join them at Father Hennepin State Park.

That's the Father Hennepin Park on the southern tip of Lake Mille Lacs and not the park along the river in Minneapolis.

The girls were excited to play in the tent while I was trying to make our beds.

We had tomatoes from the garden, lettuce and bread at home. We picked up some bacon in town for camp stove BLTs.

I guess this is better than the camp food we were eating at the beginning of summer.

Shannyn and Brent like to camp in style.

I'd never seen the VW Westfalia camper van in use before. I so want one of these for road trips.

There was a regional bike trail that started in town. Unfortunately it was being repaved. We took our bikes out and explored the park instead.

Whenever Meadow sees a playground we have to stop. Eleanor and her couldn't wait to get on the slide.

Meadow has more fun hanging and climbing than sliding. 



For only having swings and a slide the girls had a lot of fun playing. And by girls I mean me too.

Eventually she warmed up to using the slide. Peer pressure isn't always negative.

Who knew sliding was so fun.

Then we decided to bike into town. The Mama's needed to get up the hill first.

The nice thing about this state park is that its so close to civilization.


"Fish, fish!"

We wanted to get some sweets, but nothing was open on Mondays.

After our 5 minute tour of town we headed back for dinner.

I think Meadow ate more of the food they brought.

There's nothing like camping and Grain Belt.

Meadow insisted on getting buckled into Eleanor's car seat.

This happened multiple times.

Brent was an old pro at cooking over a camp fire. We cooked some corn on the cob first.

With his help.

Meadow and Eleanor fed one another spaghetti for dinner. They might've enjoyed it too much.

Meadow even helped wash off her friend's face.


Here you missed a spot.

Meadow's a good friend.

It's nice to camp with someone who can actually start fires.

Don't exaggerate. I start fires. We're just not that into them.


We roasted brats like you'd cook hot dogs.

Their meal was bit more fancy.

I guess you can when you have a two burner stove.

Meadow has recently discovered that she loves corn. Only if it's in the cob though. She won't eat it shucked. 


After dinner I tried my hand at fishing. I need a good book on fishing in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It's nice to know that you don't need a fishing license at Minnesota State Parks.

I think Meadow enjoyed camping more having a friend along.

Brent managed to hull another bundle of logs back from the park HQ with his bike.


"Hi C, Hi C, jump!"



Meadow was hesitant about eating a marshmallow at first. She didn't know what it was.

Eleanor got her s'mores stuck to her leg. In a couple of years the two of them will get the hang of it.

After  marshmallows I brought Meadow over to the shore to watch the sunset.

Lake Mille Lacs is closed to walleye fishing for the rest of the year. Folks need to fish for more than the cliche fish of Minnesota.

She was more interested in jumping off all the rocks.

"That one. That one."

Eleanor and Shannyn joined in too.


After the girls were in bed we hung out around the fire. Usually when it's just us we go to bed when it gets dark. It was nice getting to stay up late and chat.

Brent and Shannyn traveled for much of their post-college years until just a few years ago. They told us all about their brief stint in the Peace Corps and living in Dublin and London. I think we need to do much of the same with the next ten years of our lives.


We got to hear the sounds of the waves as we slept. It almost felt like we were near the ocean.

Except we were a hundred yards from the actual lakeshore.

Meadow was bummed that we had to leave today.

She wanted to go on another bike ride.


Eleanor was ready for another bike ride.

I finally remembered to bring along my tea kettle this time. 

Bacon and oatmeal. I don't think we've ever had that combo.

These two girls have a lot of fun together.


Then it was time to part. Scott had to do a shoot in Stillwater or we would have stayed longer.

So long friends and their awesome VW.

I have a client that produces real estate web sites for realtors. I basically drive around cul de sacs and shoot subdivisions.

This time around I got to photograph Stillwater and the nearby towns like Marine on St. Croix.

I can't say I see many people cooking an entire meal in this little park at Marine On St. Croix.

We had a meals worth of food leftover and our camp stove. Why not do it? I've actually been thinking of doing this on our trips to the cottage. It's cheaper than going out.

I would love to live here. There are so many cool houses.

At the end of their main road is a subdivision designed by Duluth architect David Salmela. All the homes are white with metal roofs, but each has a unique design.

This place is awesome and creepy at the same time. I always see laundry hanging out on the lines, but never any people outside.

We promised Meadow ice cream, but then we saw General Scoop only takes cash now and we didn't have any.

Once we went south I meandered through downtown taking photos of picturesque Stillwater.

Meadow and I looked around this toy store while Scott took more photos. They gave Meadow a balloon as we were leaving and she decided to eat it.

After shooting downtown I drove around photographing homes.

Then we went over to Nelson's Ice Cream. When we saw how big the cones were we decided to share one. The gal kept adding more and more scoops. She asked if she should keep going and we said no that's fine, then she explained it was just a child size.

I'd heard of the place and it's infamous helpings, but had no clue how big they really were.

We were a little grossed out by how many people had ordered a half gallon of ice cream each. Do people not look ahead of them to see how big these cones are?

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