Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sunday at the park

Follow the leader (photo by Jill)

by the headwaters (photo by Jill)

This past Sunday was our State Park Day where admission to all state parks in Minnesota was free. So...we headed up to Itasca after church ended. For those of you not familiar with Itasca, it is the state park where the Mississippi River headwaters is (are?) and is located about 30 miles north of us, although technically it is still considered Park Rapids. It is a beautiful, huge park with hundreds of acres of wooded area, lots of wild life and plant life (and bugs!). There are miles and miles of hiking and biking trails (snow mobile and cross country ski trails in the winter), and it is full of history.

scouting the area

Did you know that we are in the only area that is both east, west, and south of the Mississippi River? Yep, the river is like the top of a shepherds crook around us. Did you also know that the Army Corp of Engineers actually changed the route of part of the Mississippi River at the park to prevent erosion and make it flow in a more convenient location?

By the Mighty Mississippi

There were dozens of planned activities at the park that day including lots of music from Mrs. Senior America (who is from Minnesota), the Park Rapids Community Band (very talented and a treat to see and hear), and a few other local groups. They had a loon calling contest (after all, we are the loon capital of the United States!), three-legged races, sack races, crab races, log sawing contests, bubble blowing contests, coloring contests, and free treats -- free milk (our official state beverage) served by the local Dairy Princesses (Minnesota has a teen pagent where they have dairy princesses in most counties...the state winner then gets her image carved out of a huge mound of butter at the State Fair, woohoo!), free blueberry muffins (our official state baked good), and ice cream (most everyone's official summer time treat!).

Biker boy

Biker girl

I thought the kids would like all the different activities. Maybe it was because they were tired (busy day Saturday, early morning Sunday, no naps). Maybe it was because we brought their bikes. Maybe it was for some reason all together or a combination of them all, but they had no interest in doing anything except riding bikes and going to the headwaters to walk across the river and swim.

Noah and Susanna (photo by Jill)

Susanna (photo by Jill)

It was a lovely, sunny, gorgeous day. Nice and warm. Beautiful. Something we've not seen since and won't see before the end of the week....our temps are now rainy with a high of between 50 to 60 forecast for each day Monday through Saturday. WHERE IS SUMMER????
Luke on the rocks (photo by Jill)

I can do it, too! (photo by Jill)

Anyway! We ran into many friends while we were there, including my friend Jill. I've "published" many of her photos on my blog in the past, including photos of eagles and swans. She took some great photos of our kids, shown throughout this blog (with a few from me thrown in!).

The kids were worn out on the way home and were asleep before we got out of the park (we also took the long way out, which meanders through lots of wooded areas with a 20 mph speed limit...it took us about 45 minutes of passing beautiful scenery to get out of the park).

If you've visited us before, you most likely have been to Itasca. It is a wonder to behold regardless of the season. If you've not visited us before...come, if only to see Itasca!
Warning! Watkins plug! I do have to tell you I appreciate even more Watkins burn cream -- I came home after once again lathering the kids in sunscreen and ignoring myself. Nice and bright red down my arms and on my chest. I slathered the burn cream on me that night and by morning the red was gone and there was no pain. I only wish I'd remembered to take my Watkins insect lotion because the bugs were terrible! It was so bad, I did break down and buy some other stuff there (also containing deet -- I bought the last bottle in the park!). It worked pretty good, but I know Watkins would've been better....just ask Martha!

where my kids get their love of biking!

1 comment:

Martha said...

Yeah, you can ask me about the bug repellent! I have used it several times now and am hooked! I had one customer that I thought was going to go around hugging everyone in the room when she saw that I had a bottle available two weeks ago. She only takes Watkins' repellent when they go camping ... or they don't go camping, she says. :)

Looks like you guys had fun. We're heading into some hot weather here by the end of the week. Figures. It's the day that Stephen has his field trip to the African Lion Safari, too! They're going to roast!