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Namekagon River Camping

Scott has been wanting to go canoe camping on the St. Croix for a few weeks. 

More like a few years. Brooke decided on the windier Namekagon River branch of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

We thought about going last weekend, but I was thinking it might be busy because of the 4th. 

We convinced Blake and Daniel to join us so we would have one car for drop off and one car for pickup. We met Blake at at the Riverside Landing, picked him up and met Daniel at our starting point at the County Road K Landing in Trego. 

Since we started in the evening we only went 5 miles before picking our campsite for the night. We chose campsite 29.7. Campsites are free and first come first served. 

It was a nicely wooded site but had lots of poison ivy.

We would find out that would always be the case. Basically don't venture into the woods.

We brought along Meadow's walkie talkie, which was perfect since we had two boats.

Theo's not used to being around other people quite yet. Also our campsite did not look like this, we were still unpacking.

It looked like this for quite a while.

The Namekagon River is really shallow, perfect for wading. 

Everyone jumped in as soon as we were settled in.

Well, Theo and I watched from shore.

The night called for rain but missed us and even gave us a sunset.

I guess Blake and Daniel were sad that they didn't get to do their 4th of July fireworks at the cottage. So they brought some sprinklers.

The guys also brought the kids glow sticks. This will have to make up for our missed 4th of July weekend.

Before bed we ate some s'mores.

When we were settling into bed for the night, Meadow found Theo's Baby in her sleeping bag. All these months we were missing him. I apparently rolled him up when I put away their makeshift campsite in their bedroom.

In the morning the kids were all cuddled up with Baby.

Thanks for letting us use your hammock as a clothesline Daniel.

I made pancakes and eggs for breakfast. Blake brought some fruit to cut up. We usually try to pack easy meals that don't require a cooler. Blake brought one and I guess it would work in a canoe. 

No portages on this river.

Our canoes were situated just down a path.

Theo, Baby and I ate breakfast together.

Well, mostly just Theo and I.

Time to load up.

Blake and Daniel always like to get a head start. They're fast paddlers, but I guess I do same thing when I bike with Brooke and the kids.

I was surprised to see no civilization out here. I guess it is a National Park.

The current this far upstream kept us at a fast pace.

Passing Whispering Pines Landing we started seeing more people.

The river also started to slow down a bit.

We took a break at Howell Landing. We had plans to make lunch when we realized everything was packed away.

I would've loved lunch, but on we went.

This was such an easy paddle. We're used to lake paddling and having the current push you makes it so much easier.

My mom got us the extra seat for our Old Town canoe for Christmas. We didn't have room to bring it home with us and had to wait to pick up when we visited the cottage a couple weeks ago. Perfect timing because the kids love not having to sit on the floor.

Theo did pretty good sitting in the canoe all day too. Once in awhile the kids would argue about something.

It must be nice to be 10 feet in front of the kids instead of a few feet behind them.

Our first bridge under Hwy 77.

Wait, how did we get in front of these two speed demons?

We saw quite a few day trippers for a Friday. I can't imagine what last weekend would have been like.

These folks thought it would be funny to only leave the shallowest part of the river open. 

We had paddled something like 17 miles when we feasted our eyes upon campsite 12.5. I was tired, the kids were ready to have fun and the site looked me and the kids only. 

While it had a great view there really wasn't much space for two tents and the water was kind of mucky.

I caved in and huffed and puffed down to the canoe. The next site less than a 1/2 mile was already full. Now I was cranky city.

We finally settled on campsite 8.0. We hadn't planned on paddling 20 miles today. A dip in the river was much needed.

The other side of the river was super sandy and less buggy so we made our way over there.

Theo didn't want to, but I carried him over. I guess this site wasn't so bad after all. I just didn't want to paddle for 21 miles when we didn't have to.

Blake made us tacos for dinner.

Scott mocked our 'mocking until he finally tried it for himself.

It's OK. I had no idea that a good campsite requires a good hammock hanging area. Who knew?

I picked up this bug net at REI on our way. I grabbed it quick not realizing I picked the single person net. Oops.

Hammocks may be silly, but that net was funnier. I used it as a makeshift blanket and it almost did the job.

Besides the long canoe ride the kids were having a blast running around barefoot and playing in the water.

Not as magical as the Boundary Waters but I still really liked this trip. We need to come back next year to do another segment. 

Somehow the kids ended up on Scotts side of the tent.

They always do. Don't ask me why.

I made the mornings pancakes and french toast.

With our long paddle yesterday we only had about 11 miles to get back to our car.

I suggested we stop for some swimming. That's one thing I'd change next time. Stop at more of the numerous sandbars.

This was my favorite part of the whole paddle. I tried talking Blake and Daniel into another night of camping, but I guess we got our wires crossed on that part of the planning.

The remainder of the way has the most rapids. 

Before we knew it we were back on the St. Croix proper. I was pooped from all the paddling. I guess two nights plus half a day was a OK.

Blake and Daniel had decided on going home. We debated on staying another night. The next landing was 15 miles away and only had 2 campsites in between. I was worried with it being Saturday they might be taken. Instead we got pizza before splitting ways. We also did this after the BWCA. 

I guess pizza after paddling is a tradition for us now.

A perfect ending to our trip. Now I want to only canoe camp.


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