Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Camping

The first two weeks of summer were quite busy here.  Or rather, not here, but everywhere else we were.  I had two weeks off from teaching and because he had a lot of vacation to use or lose, Mike was able to take off two weeks as well.  After our week in Iowa, we came home, packed again, and headed out for our summer camping trip.

This year we decided to head to Itasca State Park.  It seemed to have a lot of things to do when we researched and we thought it would be fun to see where the Mississippi began.

It was a lot in one trip, so we'll start today with the campground.  When we first arrived, Mike and I weren't sure our tent was even going to fit. 

These spaces weren't nearly as big as what we experienced in Gooseberry last year, but after a little rearranging, we were able to make it work.  Our space was much more "private" than many of the spaces in this campground area.  After seeing the open-ness of the other spaces, we all decided that we prefer to have privacy.  I guess we are hermits when it comes to camping.

As you can see, this year we brought our bikes with us and made good use of them!  There were tons of trails and the kids had a blast being able to hop on their bike to get places.  It was nice, but I can guarantee that it will be quite awhile before I'm heading out on another long bike trip.  I winced by the third day of getting on that contraption.

When we finally decided to "head home" after our day out, everyone worked to get the fire going.

The kids loved climbing through the woods to find twigs to start up the fire.  Unfortunately much of it wasn't dried enough so it took quite some effort to find those! 

Mike was a little frustrated with the wood we had to buy there; it always seems kind of wet and takes FOREVER to get fired up.  That first night Maddie and I let the boys handle most of the fire stuff.  Maddie entertained everyone by reading from her ghost story book.

Can I just say - there are some scary stories in there.  By the second night I told her enough with the ghost stories. 

Because the fire was taking so long to get going, Maddie and I were getting hungry so we busted out the remains from breakfast...

What's a camping trip without some delicious cake donuts from the Shakopee Donut Connection???  Can we rough it, or what?

Once the fire got going, the kids headed out to play and Mike was in charge of our burgers.

We decided to try some frozen patties.  Eh.  They weren't horrible, but they weren't anything I'd willingly choose again.  QUITE greasy that it left a small puddle on our plates that instantly hardened and I realized what it was doing to my arteries.  Blech. 

We did forget a couple essentials: a spatula to flip the burgers (we also left behind the ax he got for Christmas to take on our next camping trip).  Hence Mike was using the marshmallow holder things to flip the burgers.  He almost lost one through the grate, but being lightning fast with reflexes meant he saved it before it hit the flames.  The second night we had hot dogs which were SO much easier to make.  While I'm not a huge hot dog fan, I have to say that roasted over a fire, they are pretty good.  Way better than the burgers, that's for sure.

The rest of the nights we spent just sitting around the warm fire (it was chilly up there!) and chatting.  Once the fire died out around 10pm each night we were in the tent and sleeping. 

Morning came quite early with the birds.  Somehow we managed to go back to sleep after they woke up and get up around 8am instead.  Mike started our breakfast and we were surrounded by this pretty light while we dined on hot chocolate and pop tarts or granola bars:

We'll cover the sites a different day.

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