Sunday, July 9, 2017

Camping Adventure #3 (2017): Bent Trout Lake


This trip was extra special as it was a mom and dad ONLY camping trip (plus Axle)!  Don't get me wrong, camping with the kiddos is always fun and creates so many great memories, but we needed some memories of our own this time!  It was actually our first time camping in the camper just the two of us.  Easier, cleaner, quieter and more relaxed (more sleep!), but it was hard not to miss the kids since we could picture them joining in and playing with all the kids around on scooters, bikes and swimming.  This was our second time at BTL campground.  The first time was last year and we only stayed there for a night since it was not our end destination.  We stayed 3 nights this time and were reminded of why we marked in our travel journal that we wanted to go back.  It's a medium sized campground with around 100 sites. Some nicely tucked away, others right on the lake and some set up in a neighborhood fashion.  Lots of kids and buzz going on from the seasonal folk--but nothing too wild.  Very family friendly!

Thursday night we enjoyed dinner just the two of us---literally---the only two in there, at Elmwood Inn, in Cloquet.  Friday, we ventured to Duluth for some fun and landed at a Cantina restaurant (delicious!) for dinner and the brewery for a flight---er, two flights--of their local beer.  After we got back to the site, we walked around the whole campground and picked out our favorite sites and ooohed and ahhhed at some of the campers.  Saturday we took the half hour drive South to Banning State Park.  A first for both of us.  We thoroughly enjoyed the park and what the trails had to offer on our 4 mile hike.  We will definitely go back for a visit! After our hike and lunch on the trail, we drove through Moose Lake.  Very cute little town.  We visited their trading post/gift shop where I got some vintage records (hello Elvis, Dolly and John Denver) and fun little things for the kids and we also stopped to have a beverage at the local brewery---can't leave a town without visiting their breweries!  After we got back to the camper, we rented out a paddle boat and spent an hour going around the lake.  After tiring our legs out, we relaxed for a couple hours and Curt cooked some locally prepared burgers over the fire.  We felt like we needed one more adventure "out on the town", so we headed out and landed at the Elmwood Inn again.  This time, the place was packed, so we expected a lively place.  Our assumptions were true--however, the liveliness was in the form of a school reunion.  Specifically the Cloquet graduating class of '87.  We were tempted to grab some of their nametags and play along while people complimented how young and awesome we look for our age ("Hi there, I'm Samantha Litchfield, you can call me Sam.  You don't remember me? Oh, well I transferred to Cloquet my junior year and then dropped out to pursue my dreams of being a taxidermist.....") , but we decided to just stick with our front row seats and appetizers and people watch the night away.  It was amazing.  After enjoying guessing who the popular kids were and who might've been voted most likely to own a mini-mart, we drove back to the Nomad to call it a night.  Sunday came with one last morning of sleeping in and just like that were were packed up and on the road!

We had a wonderful weekend that I am so thankful for as it renewed our energy, produced lots of laughs and memories and gifted us some time to dream together and talk about future aspirations and hopes for our family.  We are also very thankful for loving grandparents to our kiddos---this trip was made possible by them!

We highly recommend Bent Trout Lake and are even considering making it a seasonal home for the 'ol Nomad! If we do, we'll be sure to save a spot for you :)






DULUTH






BENT TROUT LAKE CAMPGROUND








BANNING STATE PARK












THE ONLY WAY TO EAT A MALLOW


Oh, and we got some Tattoos.  :)

Finally starting my sleeve.






Sunday, July 2, 2017

Camping Adventure #2 (2017): Crow Wing State Park


Our second adventure of the summer was with our adventure seeking counterparts, the Prices and their tribe.  We absolutely love getting our families together and the fact that our kids all get along amazingly---even after 3 days of close quarters---is a sure sign of a friendship win!

This trip we stayed in Crow Wing State Park, up near Brainerd.  We chose to stay in a non-electric site this time with the Nomad since it seemed those sites were a bit more secluded.  Besides needing to use extra flashlights in the camper, it was really no different and gave us enough of the privacy we wanted from other campers.  The weather was perfect camping weather, but a little bi-polar at times to plan activities.  The park offered lots of trails around the park (we hiked about 3 miles), paths down by the river and canoe rentals (we didn't get the chance, but woulda been fun sans kids!)

We seemed to eat better than we normally do.  One meal consisted of some delicious pork-on-a-fork cooked over the fire and a homemade potato side with some cowboy caviar to top it off--not to mention, Prices' famous "s'mores in a cone treat". I mean, food network might as well sign us a show right now for how to eat well in the wild-or maybe a camping cook off.  Just saying.

We ventured out one of our days to some mini-golf, a local brewery, Zorbaz and some life changing and spectacular fireworks! Actually, the fireworks were a complete bust.  They were the Wilson neighbor of fireworks---just peeked over the trees enough to see something was there, but not enough to oooh and ahhhh at. But it's completely hilarious now at this point. 

Looking back, the weekend flew by and I'm positive it's because we were in great company doing something we all love. Oh, and we also saved a bat's life.  So, I'd say we're all walking away feeling like winners.

Here are some snapshots from the weekend:



































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