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A Day Berry Picking and Canoeing Around Grey Cloud Island


I've always made fun of Camelbak backpacks, but recently we got one for our hiking backpack and then one for Meadow's birthday present. At a garage sale I even picked up an old Camelbak.

Meadow got some birthday money from her Tuska grandparents. When I asked her what she wanted she picked a hiking backpack. We lucked out on finding one that holds a water resivor. I told her the bag was going to get heavier with water, but she still loved it. 


Even with it being the end of July already, we still had to get our annual berry picking in. Sadly our usual berry farm experienced hail damage in June and was closed for the summer.

We settled on going back to Sam Kedem Nursery Garden.

We hadn't been to Sam Kedem's for a few years and with our normal berry picking field out of service it just made sense.

The blueberries were inside of these nets and I kept getting stuck on the net. 

The berries were super tiny and not as plentiful as our usual place.

Meadow was loving her new backpack.

At this point in the season there wasn't too many berries for us to pick.

At one point Meadow started crying. I looked over and saw her nose bleeding pretty badly. Scott was freaking out, but I used to get them pretty bad as a kid too. It stopped and she was fine.

Poor kid.

That didn't stop her from more picking at least.

Meadow made sure we stayed hydrated throughout the day.

At one point Scott complained it that it was hotter than Texas. I laughed. Since coming back the weather has been extremely comfortable and sometimes chilly. 

But not on this day.

We ended up with only about a quart and half this year. Not enough to freeze, but that's alright.

We then had a big plan to canoe around Grey Cloud Island along the Mississippi River south of St. Paul, but we couldn't find a way to get in the water.

After driving around aimlessly we finally found a good place to launch on the Cottage Grove side of the river.

We decided to canoe around the entire island.

Brooke noticed a ton of minnows jumping out of the water near a bridge, but we had no luck catching anything.


I'd take breaks to fish anywhere it looked like fish would keep cool on a hot summer day.

Meadow said she wanted to rest so I made her a little fort to keep her out of the sun.

She thought it was more fun to play in the fort and eventually emerged.


Finally after all of these years we were paddling on the Mississippi River proper. In this area there was next to no current, so you could canoe either direction.


The island has a quarry and barges lining the Mississippi side.

And people can actually live on the other side.

This reminds me of the refineries amidst the bayous of Louisiana.

I felt like we had been paddling for awhile and we weren't even halfway around yet.

We saw tons of cranes and gold and bald eagles waiting to fish the waters.

The island was bigger than we thought.

Meadow impressively kept herself entertained for all the hours we paddled around the bigger than expected island.

The river also had the biggest lily pads we'd ever seen.

We had plans to make our mac and cheese lunch somewhere along the route, but never found a great place to picnic. We pretty much ate all our berries on the trip.

Meadow drew a picture of us canoeing on the river when we got home only to erase it a few minutes later.

So, she made an even better portrait of our family.

After a long canoe ride, the boxed mac and cheese we were supposed to eat on an island hit the spot.

Another berry good day. 

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