Monday, August 29, 2016

Our Last Summer Weekend Outing

This weekend was a work trip-spawned weekend getaway.  I had a Board meeting for my MCFOA job at Treasure Island event center near Red Wing.  Jesse and I decided the whole family would go and then we'd camp the rest of the weekend in SE MN.  We made the plan and reservations at Frontenac State Park before Bekah decided she was going to play volleyball.  Once that started, she had decided she would stay home so she wouldn't miss two days of practice.  We ended up compromising and waiting to leave on Thursday night until she was done with practice.  That meant we rolled into the hotel parking lot at 1:30 a.m. on Friday morning.  Here's all three kids still crashed when I had to leave for my meeting at 7:30 a.m.
Jesse and the kids checked out the new waterpark, The Lagoon, once they got up, but none of them were very impressed with it.  They were done before checkout time and then they bummed around and set up camp until I was done with my meeting.  After they picked me back up, we hit the grocery store and then headed back to the campsite. 

Frontenac is a very pretty park in the bluffs along the Mississippi River/Lake Pepin.  Bekah, Scott and I checked out the most difficult hike, the Lower Bluff Trail, right away.

Going down was hard on the knees...going back up was hard on everything!

In Yan Teopa, the feature rock formation of the park:

Alarik wanted to hike with me after that.  We tackled the much less steep Upper Bluff Trail.

Alarik is all about taking selfies right now.  For this one, we had to smile and say, "cheese curds!"

We roasted hotdogs for dinner and relaxed around the fire and in the tent for the rest of Friday evening.

Bright and early Saturday morning, Alarik asked me to help him write down a few rules for a family hike that he'd been pondering.  He reviewed them with everyone.

As you can see, he was concerned about falling off the cliff, bears and being in charge.

We needed a good breakfast to make sure we could follow all those rules.  Breakfast burritos comin' right up!

Alarik did a great job leading the way and it was a successful hike.

It started to rain shortly after we got back so it was a great time to snuggle up with books, magazines and short snoozes.

Snack time was watermelon...

...and fruit snack campfire pies???  Eeeeew!

Mom says eeew, but Alarik gives it not just two thumbs up, but all fingers/thumbs up!

There were a large number of trees down behind our campsite from prior storms.  They made for good obstacle course components, not to mention free fuel for our campfire.

Scott was Mr. Pie Iron.  I think he succeeded in terrifying his sister.  Bahaha!

After our post-rain snack, we drove to the picnic area of the park where the trailhead for the hiking club trail was.

This one didn't have as many steep steps as Lower Bluff Trail but there was still a fair amount of downhill/uphill hiking.

Here are the kids at the summit, Eagle Point.

Back at the campsite, Scott settled in to whittle sticks, Alarik got out the crayons and Bekah picked up her book again.

One of our local grocery store finds was Cracker Jacks.  The kids had never had them before and they thought they were delicious! 

I was not impressed, however, with the "prize" that you now get in a box of Crack Jacks.  You need a smartphone to enjoy it.  Whatever happened to plastic rings and temporary tattoos?

One last bedtime hike on Saturday night to one of the overlooks close to our campsite.

The kids shared an air mattress and did well sleeping three across it.  Alarik was a total bed hog Saturday night, but the other two didn't even seem to notice!

It was raining when we woke up Sunday morning so rather than battle to build a fire and cook, we opted to pack everything up and head for home, stopping in Red Wing for a good old hometown café breakfast.  We passed the short wait for our food by playing coffee creamer tic-tac-toe.

We stopped in Forest Lake to do our school shopping at OfficeMax.  A stop in Moose Lake for gas station snacks (Scott proudly introduced the rest of the family to the joys of Kwik Trip which he'd learned from the Kallinen boys on our Rochester trip) and one more quick stop for dog food, and we were home by 3:30 in the afternoon.  The rest of the day was filled with doing laundry and setting up/drying out the tent and other gear.

This was the third weekend in a row out of town for Jesse and I and the second in a row for the kids.  We're usually more homebodies so we are definitely ready to have a quiet Labor Day weekend at home before our busier fall/school schedule cranks up next week.