Posts Tagged ‘Camping’

2010 Recap

January 2, 2011

I’d like to take a moment to look back and see how I’ve enjoyed and protected nature in the past year.

• I took up a new hobby in 2010—birdwatching. I was fortunate enough to tag along with a group of expert birders, logging about 40 hours with them. Not only did I see many birds I had never seen, I also visited many local parks I had never visited. Thanks Monday Morning Birding Bunch!

• I enjoyed the company of my husband and my dog during two relaxing camping trips at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area—near Ely and on the Gunflint Trail. Canoeing, hiking, swimming, birdwatching and stargazing were excellent.

• I attempted to make healthy and sustainable food choices by shopping at a local food co-op and supporting a local farm through a CSA membership.

• I watched my 2nd-year native plants garden grow and observed how the butterflies, bees, caterpillars and birds are attracted to native plants.

• In my own small way of trying to get others interested in nature, I gave Toastmasters speeches about the Minnesota Master Naturalist program and about my EcoStrides blog.

• H and I purchased snowshoes for our Minnesota nieces and nephews for Christmas and then we all went on a short snowshoeing and sledding adventure.

• I logged 47 hours of volunteering as a Minnesota Master Naturalist. My projects included:

  1. Pulling invasive garlic mustard at Crosby Farm Park for Friends of the Mississippi River
  2. Weeding at Como Lake’s shoreline for St. Paul Parks
  3. Removing invasive burdock from Como Park Woods for St. Paul Parks
  4. Collecting seed of native prairie plants at Woodbury Conservation Corridor and Lost Valley Scientific and Natural Area for Great River Greening
  5. Supervising teens in stacking buckthorn at Lost Valley Scientific and Natural Area for Great River Greening
  6. Spreading mulch under new shrubs under the Xcel Energy High Bridge for Great River Greening
  7. Cutting and piling brush at Lost Valley Scientific and Natural Area for the Minnesota DNR
  8. Cleaning seeds previously collected for Great River Greening
  9. Talking to visitors about native plants during a neighborhood garden tour
  10. Addressing envelopes for the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota
  11. Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count

Here’s to 2011 and more outdoor escapades!

Those Nutty Nuthatches

December 1, 2010

08/23/10 — Gunflint Trail, Minnesota — It was a hot and windy day so we opted to hang out around camp instead of going out in the canoe. The Nuthatches were my entertainment for the day. It’s fun to watch them flutter around pine cones, picking out seeds and bringing them to another tree. Their calls sound like nasal beeps.

The Red-breasted Nuthatch was just one of the species involved in entertaining me on vacation. Here is the list of birds I saw on our week-long camping trip at the edge of the Boundary Waters. (One thing I’ve learned about birders is that they like to make lists.)

  1. White-throated Sparrow
  2. Cedar Waxwing
  3. American Robin
  4. Black-capped Chickadee
  5. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  6. Dark-eyed Junco
  7. Gray Jay
  8. Common Grackle
  9. American Crow
  10. Common Raven
  11. Ring-billed Gull
  12. Hairy Woodpecker
  13. Northern Flicker
  14. Pileated Woodpecker
  15. Common Nighthawk
  16. Common Loon
  17. Hooded Merganser
  18. Mallard
  19. Turkey Vulture
  20. Osprey
  21. Bald Eagle

Roadtrip Campsites

November 7, 2009

Take a peek at each of our campsites during our roadtrip from Minnesota to the West Coast in June 2009.

Now that’s camping food!

November 3, 2009


Memaloose State Park on the Columbia River, Oregon, June 13, 2009

Catching Up: Winter and Planning a Roadtrip

February 26, 2009

Wow, a whole month has passed by since my last post. So much for my goal of blogging every day. It’s snowing like crazy today and I’m glad. It will give me at least one more chance to get out and cross-country ski or snowshoe. This winter I’ve only been cross-country skiing once and snowshoeing three times. I don’t want winter to be over yet because I don’t feel like I’ve taken advantage of it. It has been a cold one and maybe that’s why I haven’t been out much. I’m not exactly a die-hard. Then, we had an early thaw and there was no snow left to enjoy. So, with this new snowfall, I’m looking forward to an active weekend outdoors.

What I have been doing lately is planning a roadtrip for this summer. H and I will be taking the camper from Minnesota to Oregon (and back). The lucky dog gets to come along too! He loves the camper. Sometimes we’ll be sitting outside in a campground on a lovely day and Manchas will cry to go inside the camper. Makes me wonder.

I’m very excited for the trip! We will have the opportunity to visit two of my cousins. It will be great to catch up with them. Apart from the family reunions, some specific places that we’ll be camping are (click to see photo):

This will be a nature-based vacation since we’ll have the camper and the dog with us. I doubt we’ll be found in any museums along the way. But that is the way I like it. I’d rather soak in the scenery than a painting.

Tidbits of Minnesota State Parks

November 16, 2008

Some of the best things about each of the Minnesota State Parks that I have visited…

Afton

Get a workout hiking the rolling hills of this nearby state park.

Banning

Seeing remnants of the sandstone quarries makes hiking through this park especially interesting, as if the wild and crazy Kettle River wasn’t enough.

Beaver Creek Valley

This lush, green park in bluff country has fly fishing opportunities.

Picnic area at Cascade River State Park

Picnic area at Cascade River State Park

Cascade River

I love the isolated picnic area nestled among the cedar trees on the shores of Lake Superior. It’s a great place to relax for hours, gazing at this ocean-like lake.

Fort Snelling

The Mississippi and Minnesota rivers meet in this metro area nature retreat.

Bird blind at Glendalough State Park

Observation blind at Glendalough

Glendalough

Although I didn’t spot any wildlife, I think it’s cool that the park has observation blinds.

Gooseberry Falls

Walking amidst the waterfalls is great fun!

Interstate

This is the place to see potholes galore and learn about glaciers. It’s worth a trip over to the Wisconsin side too.

Lake Itasca

Lake Itasca

Itasca

I love canoeing with the loons on peaceful Lake Itasca. My favorite kind of lake is long and narrow, so Lake Itasca fits the bill with three separate “arms”. The giant red and white pines are the signature of this park.

The massive, rugged rocks of the St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park

Jay Cooke State Park

Jay Cooke

The massive, rugged rocks in the St. Louis River are a memorable site from the swinging bridge.

Minneopa

The double waterfall is the draw to this park, but I really enjoyed walking through the oak savanna littered with big boulders.

St. Croix

This is an all-around great park with 2 rivers and lots of trails.

Sakatah Singing Trail

Sakatah Singing Hills Trail

Sakatah Lake

Biking or walking the tunnel of trees of the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail is very pleasant. We also saw wild turkeys in the park.

Red pines at Scenic State Park

Red pines at Scenic State Park

Scenic

This park has the beauty of Itasca without the crowds. Hiking the Chase Point Trail along the high narrow peninsula is awesome if you love red pine and cedar, like me.

Split Rock Lighthouse

The lighthouse in the distance with birch trees in the foreground is a picture-perfect scene.

Temperance River

If you’re visiting the North Shore it’s worth stopping to hike along the river gorge and enjoy the many waterfalls.

Tettagouche State Park

Tettegouche State Park

Tettegouche

This park offers beautiful trails high on the rocky cliffs overlooking Lake Superior. I can’t imagine any better vistas of Lake Superior.

Whitewater

Believe it or not, there are no mosquitoes here in the middle of summer!

Wild River

Cross-country skiing is lots of fun here.

William O’Brien

On a hot summer day there’s nothing better than canoeing the St. Croix and stopping at a sandbar on or near Greenberg Island. My dog thought that running and jumping through the ankle-deep, warm water was pure joy, and I would have to agree!

Where to Go?

November 13, 2008

Have you ever wondered where to go camping or hiking? I figure you can’t go wrong with any of the Minnesota State Parks! I joined the Passport Club and look forward to getting a stamp from each of the 70+ state parks and recreation areas. (I have 6 so far. Too bad I can’t count the parks I’ve been to before getting my passport. I guess I’ll have to go again!) It also sounds fun to complete the list of selected hikes in their Hiking Club. Support our parks by joining one of these clubs for $14.95 each. Learn more about the Hiking and Passport Clubs.

A Tent on Wheels

November 8, 2008
Our home away from home

Our home away from home

We decided to bypass a new tent altogether and get a camper. My enjoyment of camping has increased exponentially since purchasing a camper this summer.

This particular camper is an aframe. It folds down for storage and transport. It is quick and easy to pop up and has no canvas. It is cute as a button.

The best things about a camper are:

  1. Sleeping in a comfortable bed
  2. Being in a pleasant situation while it’s raining
  3. Cooking while it’s raining
  4. Washing your hands at any time
  5. Not dealing with melted ice and coolers
  6. Having ample storage space

Any ideas for a name? The Cabin, La Casita…

Refrigerator, sink, heater

Refrigerator, sink, heater

Bed and cabinet

Bed and cabinet

Table folds down into bed

Table folds down into bed

Indoor/outdoor stove

Indoor/outdoor stove

A Tent

November 7, 2008

Campsite in Glendalough State Park, before the flood

Our tent served us well for 14 years. Then a major rainstorm left us all wet, so we thought it was time for a new tent.

We bought a Kelty Traildome 4 and tried it out one weekend. This 4-person tent was too small for the two of us and the door was difficult to zipper shut, so we took advantage of REI’s generous return policy, feeling a little guilty about returning something used.

Then we gave a cheap tent a chance—a Coleman on sale for $70. But a light rain in the morning left my sleeping bag wet. And a light breeze caused the tent to nearly collapse. Luckily, Sports Authority also allowed us to return a slightly used tent.

So we decided to look at the really nice tents next, but ended up going a little overboard. More about that later…