Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

2015 - Father Hennepin State Park, Isle, MN

Our first family outing in the new travel trailer was at Father Hennepin State Park on the beautiful Mille Lacs Lake. We joined with friends and managed to have a pretty full weekend which included geocaching, hiking, biking, hanging out at the beach, and bowling. This was one of the more enjoyable camping outings in quite some time.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Jay Cooke State Park, Carlton, MN

Laura and Bart planned a camping trip to Jay Cooke State Park to take the new camping rig on its maiden voyage. While there, we managed to attend two geocaching events, grab the passport club stamp, hiked the four mile trek to the Hiking Club password, and biked a 10 mile geocache power trail. The campsite we had chosen was a little on the cramped side, but the park itself is a wonderful place to visit and is on the short list of places to return.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - Flandrau State Park, New Ulm, MN

The family headed down to Flandrau State Park for our grand finale to the 2014 camping season. We spent the four day MEA weekend enjoying the spectacular fall weather and gorgeous fall colors. When we weren't hiking or playing along the Cottonwood River, the proximity of the park to New Ulm, MN, gave us an opportunity to visit the August Schells Brewery.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - Eagle Mountain, Cook County, MN

While in the area camping, I joined a gang of several geocaching individuals that grouped up to hike to the summit of Eagle Mountain. Eagle Mountain is the highest point in Minnesota at 2301' above sea level. The hike is 3.5 miles each direction with an elevation change of about 550'. The majority of the hike was over a trail of stones and boulders across forested rolling hills and the primary elevation climb does even really start until the last three quarters of a mile to the top.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - Temperance River State Park, Schroeder, MN

As soon as school was out for the summer we hit the road with the camper. Our destination is to one of our favorite locations on the entire planet, the northern shore of Lake Superior. We spent four nights at Temperance River State Park. Located near Schroeder, MN, Temperance River is one of eight jewels along the north shore. Hiking along the shoreline and the cascades of the river is something everyone has to experience in their lifetime.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - Apostle Island Lake Shore Sea Caves, Cornucopia, WI

It's been in the local news most of this January, the sea caves along the Apostle Island National Lakeshore are accessible by walking on the ice for the first time in five years. Located on the south shore of Lake Superior near Cornucopia, WI, the lake surface near the sea caves rarely freezes over because of wind and water currents. With the colder than normal temperatures this winter season, the ice is solid, the caves are accessible, and people are coming out in droves to explore and photograph them.

The original forecast for today was 20 degrees and sunny so plans were made to road cruise 200 miles north and hike to the sea caves. When Nene, Laura and I arrived at the lake shore parking lot, it was 3 degrees F below zero, the winds were gusting off the lake to 10-25mph, it was cold.

According to my GPS, the distance hiked from parking to the largest sea cave was 1.6 miles. My GPS took 239 samples during the hike which lasted 35 minutes 58 seconds. Our average hiking speed was 2.7mph. Unfortunately, I could not calculate the hike back as the batteries in the GPS died and I did not notice until our adventure was complete. All photographs taken with a Canon G6.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Myre-Big Island State Park, Albert Lea, MN

For our final camping trip of the season, we spent MEA weekend at Myre-Big Island State Park. Located in Albert Lea, MN, Myre-Big Island offers hiking, biking, and paddling opportunities. The fall colors were gorgeous and the Hiking Club trail had a pretty good mix of scenery between its prairie and deep wood views.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Maplewood State Park, Pelican Rapids, MN

We spent Independence Day week camping at Maplewood State Park. Located six miles east of Pelican Rapids, MN, Maplewood State Park offers paddling and hiking opportunities. The park is nicely maintained and the park staff were very friendly. But I have to admit, I would probably not return here a second time. While the actual campsite was very nice, it is unfortunate that the beach is over four miles away and the hiking trails are just too steep for young children. But our gang made the best of it and spent our time paddling in the lake, visiting nearby parades, and repairing flat tires.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Collier Seminole State Park, Naples, FL

We finally managed to accomplish our goal, which is to hike Collier-Seminole State Park to find Florida's oldest active geocache. Located near Naples, FL, this was the southern most point on our excursion. For those of you that don't understand Florida geography, Naples is located on the northwestern corner of the everglades. There are so many dangers in this park that you are required to check in at the ranger's office, even for a day hike.

Alligators, snakes, panthers, mosquitoes, the heat, and many other dangers lurk here, any of which can really ruin your day. Even having hiked the swampy side of the park, the only issues we encountered during our hike were the swarms of mosquitoes and the heat. Once we checked out of the park and explored further south, we finally encountered a 10' long man-eating gator.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2012 - Grand Portage State Park, Grand Portage, MN

Following our stop at Grand Marais, we decided to drive the 40 miles to Grand Portage State Park to view Pigeon Falls. Located on the border between Minnesota and Ontario, only the primary falls on the Pigeon River was flowing today. Low water levels left the secondary falls to the left at a mere trickle and the secondary falls to the right were non-existent. We still marvelled at Minnesota's highest waterfall and enjoyed the history lesson provided by state park signage.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..