Sunday, August 18, 2013

Camping at Cascade River State Park

Boys being Boys

Grand Marias is one of Minnesota’s beautiful resources, both aesthetically and in natural resources. We took the family, minus the tennis-playing daughter, up to Cascade River State Park to spend some time sleeping outdoors. The boys had one tent and Rona, our oldest son’s girlfriend, and I got the smaller tent, about the size of a twin sized bed. My husband laughed as we set it up saying we will get to know each other well in that tent.

As we set up camp, a little visitor checked out our goods. My youngest son thought it was a prairie dog and I thought it looked like a squirrel, except spotted. We still are not sure what it was, never having seen anything like that before. He seemed friendly enough though, crawling up onto the picnic table looking back at us as if saying, “When you bringing out the food?”

The first thing on the list of to-do’s was to walk over to Lake Superior. The boys thought it would be fun to go swimming. We reached the shoreline and looked over the bluff and saw the Cascade River flowing quickly into Superior. “I want to go in there,” my 13 year old said pointing to the raging waters of the Cascade. I panicked thinking, ‘Only if I put a harness and a helmet on that boy.’ But that is not what came out of my mouth thankfully. I replied, “Okay. It looks a little dangerous though.”

Mark reminded me of the things he was allowed to do when he was a kid: Playing in the park by himself, unsupervised for hours, when he was three; Riding a dirt bike around the neighborhood when he was eight; three-wheeling at 12; the list goes on and on. I thought, ‘Yeah, me too. I was often taken on wild rides through the woods on unruly horses when I was a kid.’ So I said, “Alright.”

It all went well. No deaths or injuries. We didn't have to call the Sheriff. The boys thought it was a little chilly, but they stayed in the water for a while anyway and had a blast.

A Very Tired Dog

We took at 6 mile hike along the Cascade River which, round trip, took 3 hours. We took the kids and the dog, Butters who is half-Shitzu, half-Lhasa. He isn't what you would consider 'outdoorsy.' He didn't enjoy sitting in the dirt while we were on the comfortable lawn chairs at the campsite. And he shivered all night long, only stopping when I shared my sleeping bag with him.

We headed up the hill on our 3 hour trip. Butters enthusiastically headed down the trail. He seemed to enjoy the hike, peeing on every tree-like object along the way and sniffing the piles of poo he encountered. But the fun didn't last long for Butters. He decided he wasn't going any further and laid down in the middle of the path exhausted.

Butters wasn't going anywhere and no one was volunteering to carry him. So someone in the group thought it would be a good idea to put Butters in the backpack that Ashton was carrying ..  it actually did turn out to be a good idea! He only fell out once, which was enough for him to learn that he didn't want to fall from 5 feet in the air onto his head again and he seemed to be enjoying himself once he got settled in.

This is how Butters traveled the rest of the trip.

The kids had fun and Butters was a happy camper . . figuratively and literally!

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