Every year my family goes camping. Camping is definitely one of my favorite past times, and I go with the Boy Scouts as often as I can. However, a family camping trip is completely different. This year we chose to go to the Park Rapids area. There is a lot to do in that area and we had a guest with us this time. Monica, Tyler’s girlfriend, and her daughter Grace-Lin decided to join us.
We left Monday morning to warm temperatures and blue skies. It was a beautiful day! We grove to Pillager where we met up with Monica’s vehicle. From there we traveled through Wadena and Sebeka before making a stop in Menagha to see St. Urho.
When my brother and I were younger we had to wait in Menagha for our car to be repaired during a family camping trip and I’m almost positive my mom has a picture of Mike and I in front of this same statue.
From Menagha we traveled on to our campground about 10 miles north of Park Rapids. We love to camp in state forest campgrounds. Not only are they cheap, but they are primitive and not usually very crowded. For this trip I chose Hungry Man Campground on Hungry Man Lake. At $12.00 a night it was very affordable.
After setting up camp we had our traditional first night of camping food…wieners over the fire, baked beans and chips. We debated about whether we should tarp the tent or not. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and even though the Weatherbug on my cell phone was predicting a 40% chance of thunderstorms my husband just did not believe it. Even though my tent has a fly, it leaks like a sieve. I will never buy another tent from Bass Pro Shops again. I spent a bloody fortune on it and it has been nothing but a piece of junk every since we bought it 3 years earlier. Before that we had an Eddie Bauer tent for over 10 years and it held up and only leaked once when we were in a storm in Canada with winds so strong it actually laid the tent down on top of us.
Anyway… we didn’t tarp it and the storms moved in. There were 4 lines of them that rolled through. It poured and thundered and lightninged all night and all the next day.
In the morning, being unable to cook in the storm, we headed in to Park Rapids for breakfast at McDonalds.
We spent the rest of the day exploring the downtown area and other fun shops around Park Rapids.
Finally, around 8 pm, the weather broke and cleared up. By that time everything was too wet for making a fire and we were all tired and disappointed about losing a whole day so we sat by the lake and fished for a little bit before heading to bed.
The next morning after a breakfast of eggs, corned beef hash, sausages and Pop-Tarts (Monica and her Pop-Tarts!) we headed to Itasca State Park.
At the park we visited the Jacob V. Brauer visitor center. It was filled with fun activities and things for the kids to do. Then we went to the Mississippi headwaters and crossed the Mississippi and then ate lunch at the Headwaters cafe. After visiting the gift shop we took Wilderness Drive, an 11 mile one way drive through various scenic and historical trails. We stopped and checked out the record white pine, the Bison kill site, the former record red pine (its top blew off in a storm), and watched swans on Mary Lake before walking to the Afton fire tower. We thought about trying to climb the 100 ft. tower but they only let 6 at a time climb it and there were about 5 groups ahead of us. With Zach’s knee it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea anyway.
While Tyler & Monica started cooking a dutch oven meal for supper.
While it was cooking, the kids went swimming.
We watched the sunset
before heading back for scalloped potatoes & ham from the dutch oven.
Then we sat around the campfire.
The next morning we packed up and headed to the Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes
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From there the kids had fun at Evergreen Park
before we headed for home. Vacations go by way too fast!