S: Itasca State Park ~ June 29 - July 6, 2012
1: Sabrina's 11th birthday! We picked Sabrina up from Trout Lake Bible Camp on our way to Itasca State Park for our week long vacation. Once at our campsite we celebrated her birthday with balloons, decorations and cake. | Saturday, June 30
2: Good S'mores making fire!
4: Sunday, July 1
5: Douglas Lodge We had lunch and then hiked out to the Old Timer's Cabin | Along the path there were huge dragonflies, tiny toads and flying grasshoppers that caught the kids attention. They were able to catch and carry them for a little while before we released them.
7: After Douglas Lodge we drove the Wilderness Drive, a 10 mile road inside the park that had many stops with plenty of exploration into the wilderness. Along the way we saw a beaver dam, a swan and the oldest red pine tree in Minnesota (126 feet tall & 300 years old).
8: Group Bike Ride to the Headwaters of the Mississippi
9: Mississippi Headwaters The kids thought this was a great adventure since they were able to climb on the rocks and play in the water. | We biked 1.5 miles from our campsite to the headwaters. Anthony did a great job keeping up with everyone. In fact, he wanted to be the leader! Ally & Trever rented a tandem bike for the day so they could come along on the adventure. It was a hot and humid day so cooling off by the water was nice. A great family adventure! | Monday, July 2
13: Natalie & Anthony were always on the look out for creatures wherever we went. While at the Headwaters Anthony found a little toad and Natalie found a live snail that was fun to play with.
16: Monday, July 2 ~ Stormy weather! A major storm blew through Itasca State Park packing 70mph straight line winds, just in time for dinner. When the rain started, Karla, Trever, Ally, Janell and the kids went inside our camper to wait out the storm. Joey & Dominick were in Park Rapids picking up a few things for dinner. No one had a clue just how intense the storm was about to get, until Trever discovered all the other campers hunkered down in the restroom (uh, storm shelter). Up until that point our biggest concern was figuring out dinner plans, since grilling was now out of the question. The skies grew darker, the winds picked up, and the camper lights flickered, but we were able to get people fed ~ corn on the cob, pineapple and pasta salad. By the end of the storm, hundreds of trees were knocked down and all entrances into the State Park were blocked. The guys had to remove six huge trees off the road on their way back into the park. Luckily, Joey just so happened to have logging chains in the back of his truck. Even though trees had fallen on cars, tents were blown away, and the campground looked like a war zone, amazingly enough, no one was hurt or even injured. Crews were called in from all across the state to help clear debris and remaining paths that were impassable. The buzz of chain saws could be heard well into the night and the park smelled like fresh cut Christmas trees. We lost electricity for about 5 hours,, but it came back on at 12:30am so we could finally get to sleep and cool down. I think it is safe to say that this was a storm that we will never forget!
18: The next day, we took a trip to Evergreen Fun Park in Park Rapids for some mid-morning fun.. Dominick, Joey, Sabrina, Natalie & Janell had fun on the bumper boats while Karla, Trever, Ally & Anthony played a round of mini golf. Dominick finished up Anthony's turn on the mini golf course. After Evergreen Fun Park we went back to camp to cool down at the beach. | Tuesday, July 3
19: Beach Blast! The girls had a blast flying off of Trever's shoulders! Natalie got some serious air. Anthony had fun playing with Trever in the water and was thrilled that he could touch the bottom so far out from shore.
20: Fishing on the 4th
22: We returned to the town of Park Rapids for the 4th of July celebrations. During the drive into town, it started to rain (again)! We thought about returning to the camper but decided to take our chances with the parade. The rain stopped and the sun came out before we even got into town. Then things really heated up. We found a nice spot to watch the parade near the end of the route and enjoyed all the different parade units. Afterwards we decided not to hang around long enough for the fireworks show, so we headed back to the camper. On our way back, it started raining once again! Our little black cloud just couldn't leave us alone! | HAPPY 4th of JULY!
24: The roads and paths were open and trees had been cleared around the wilderness drive, allowing us to reach the Fire Tower stop. We all started up the tower. The closer we got to the top, the more narrow the stairwell became, and the more the tower would sway in the wind! Anthony was only three flights from the top when he decided that he wasn't going any further!. He walked back down the stairs with Karla, who had gotten half way up before being sent back down with Anthony. We waved to Anthony & Karla once we made it to the top. The view was spectacular and the girls loved being up that high!
25: Thursday, July 5
26: Paul & Babe
27: We drove to Bemidji for a picnic lunch in a park and then walked around town. Of course, seeing Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox was a must! This was the first time the kids have ever seen Paul & Babe. We went into the Visitors Center to see all of Paul's giant size tools. Anthony was fascinated with the large gun, fishing pole and ax. | Bemidji