Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Family Reunion Road Trip Day 5 - Part 2

As we drove through Currie, MN on our way to Lake Shetek State Park (which was to be our home for the next two nights) this was the sight we were met with:

As we sat pondering what to do, we watched a Ford Ranger slowly slog through the water, about up to its floorboards, so we figured we'd be fine and we carefully made our way across and to the park.  We had reserved a secluded, cart-in site and it was huge and gorgeous!  We got the tent pitched and everything hauled into the site, then Jesse started a fire and relaxed with his book while I took the kids on a hike.  We hiked along the Bluebird Trail to an observation tower, then walked the Park Lake Trail back to our campsite.  The trails were amazing.  Bekah and I both agreed they looked like they came right out of the movie Brave.  I don't know what type of oak trees these were, but they were so big and they hung over the trails and had vines growing up among them.  It was like a fairy garden.  Back at the campsite we had PB&Js, hotdogs, chips and beans for dinner.  The weather forecast was calling for rain the next two days so we decided we better get a swim in before that started.  The beach area was so nice, though the water was obviously a lot higher than normal and covered up the last two steps of the stone stairway down to the waterfront.  The water was COLD thanks to all the rain they'd gotten but it felt refreshing.  It was getting late by the time we'd dried off and changed back at the campsite, but again based on the weather forecast, we figured we better squeeze the premiere hike of this park into our day so we drove across the park to the start of the Loon Island Hiking Trail.  There is a causeway built out to the island and a trail all the way around it.  Just like the trails on land, this one was like something out of a storybook.  A deer must have followed us out on the causeway and by the time we circled around the island it was bounding into the woods in the middle.  The kids did a lot of running on the trail, even a sprint race on the way back across the causeway, causing Scott to comment on the drive back that he was hot and "smelled of sweat and lake water"!  :)  There was a ton of wildlife at this park. We saw a big snapping turtle, countless deer, pelicans (for which the lake is named) and rabbits.

The kids had a dessert of roasted marshmallows smashed between chocolate/PB cookies before they brushed teeth and headed for bed.  Jesse and I sat up around the fire for awhile and plotted the rest of our trip.  Our original plan was to camp two nights at Lake Shetek, driving in to Walnut Grove one day to do the Laura Ingalls Wilder stuff there,  then drive across Southern MN to Beaver Valley Creek State Park for two nights, then one night at Banning State Park on the way back north to home.  Problem was that they were calling for thunderstorms for the next two days in the Lake Shetek area and then we were just going to follow that storm system east when we went to Beaver Valley Creek.  We came up with an alternate plan of hitting up the Goudy's for a place to sleep the following night, then heading to Pepin, WI for some more Laura Ingalls fun, figuring that would be far enough north to get us out of the storm.
Alarik on the trail to our Park Lake campsite
Bekah on the Bluebird trail
The boys on the observation tower
Park Lake trail hike
Alarik was the only one who didn't even hesitate at the cold temp of the lake


Throwing rocks from the causeway
On the Loon Island hike
 
Don't let this beautiful sunset fool you...our night was NOT peaceful!!!

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