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An Escape to Duluth and Geocaching Banning State Park

Last minute Scott decided we should go up to Duluth for the night. He had a project to do with Daniel that they didn't' get to the last time we were up.

Plus we just like going to Duluth.

Blake was working on his land and Scott ran out to get some filters.

For my drone.

 Meadow and Daniel entertained us with their music.

While I was gone, Daniel picked up some food.

Pizza!

Then Daniel and I went to shoot some video for a project.

By the time Scott and Daniel finished up it was dark out. We made our way to Blake's land through lanterns and headlamps.

We put the tent up by headlight. 

And then we made pudgy pie grilled cheese over Blake's fire.

Other than the quick stop after our work-cation, we haven't been in Blake's Magical Forest much. 

I always love to see the new thing he's working on.

We cozied in on this chilly night together in our tent.

We actually pitched our tent on Blake's work-in-progress summer home.

The whole thing can be disassembled with a number of bolts. Pretty cool.

After our breakfast buffet at Black Bear we headed home. Blake was going to be busy working on his summer home. I would have liked to help, but it was a backtrack to go back to his land. To break up the drive home we stopped at Banning State Park. I checked out one of their GPS units to use for Geocaching.

Brooke and Meadow are really into geocaching suddenly. If it means a hike, I'm in.

This was different than we normally do. Once you find the coordinates you punch in the next location. This is actually the real way to do it, but with smartphone apps they've made the game much easier.

Than you go find the next one.

Since everyone else had backpacks I made one too.

This was Theo's first time back there.

Brooke and Meadow are also very into wildflowers. They even have a book they've been towing along.

Meadow is able to identify different flowers now.

After the 4th location we found the cache.

Meadow swapped out some of her old toys for some My Little Ponies.

Theo took in the surrounding woods.

The middle of the trail was damp with recent rain. Good thing the nights are cool enough now that bugs aren't out anymore.


We discovered lots of mushrooms on our hike.

Now Meadow wants a mushroom field guide book.


Lots...of...mushrooms. These ones were really strange.


This wildflower was pretty rad. It never quite blooms. 

This was a new wildflower for us to discover. It grows in damp areas, but I can't remember its name.

Meadow spotted a fairy house.

Geocaching took us mostly through the hardwood forest portion of Banning.

The end of the trail brought us to the more interesting area of the park.

We did promise Meadow there would be rocks to climb.

I was wondering what the big deal was. People always rave about Banning. The rocky portion reminded me of High Cliff, but with conifers instead of deciduous trees and roaring rapids instead of giant Lake Winnebago.

We didn't go to any of the popular trails this time.

We'll have to come back on another weekend trip to Duluth.

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