Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Didn't Come Here To Destroy The Forest

Donna, Macy and I went camping this past weekendat a little resort just south of Itasca State Park called Breeze Campground (past adventures here and here).  If you read the previous posts that I just linked in the parenthetical, you'll quickly realize that something weird always happens -- spider attack, acts of wrath from Greek gods, stabbings -- within the first few minutes of the trip.  This time was no different.  This time it involved death, I'm afraid.

Did anyone feel a bump?
I swear I looked before backing up.  Another sumac was near it, so I assume I got them confused.  Long story short, I killed the tree.  The Jeep was fine; our bicycles cushioned the impact.  Oddly, while the other bikes were unharmed, Macy's, which was farthest from the impact, ended up with a bent rim.  Luckily, Chris (Donna's brother-in-law) always camps with a complete set of tools, so we got it back in working order.

Meanwhile, I completed the chalk outline and informed the office about the arborcide.  One of the office people came down and said she'd have the owners come by, which they did about ten minutes later.  They  noted that sumacs are evil anyway, being a symbol for Satanism in some parts of the Pacific Rim, and thanked me for removing the unholy relic from their campground.  They bade me burn it in everlasting fire but I demurred, not wanting to raise foul shades.

Anyway, tents erected, vehicles unpacked, beers de-capped, we set about building a fire with the world's most flame-retardant wood.  Thirty minutes and an entire bottle of Kingsford lighter fluid later (I'm not kidding) we succeeded.

The next day we (that is, the womenfolk) got to making breakfast.  Our choices were pancakes, doughnuts, fruit, or cereal.  Donna's nephew Cole chose the obvious: hot dogs.

This could have been me about 30 years ago.
I heartily applauded his breakfast acumen and followed suit.  Really, there is no better food on a camping trip than a hot dog.  Although Cole eats his with enough ketchup to cover a sumac, which I cannot do.  Oh well, he will learn.  Especially if he keeps camping with me.

We loaded up the bikes and headed up to Itasca State Park to make use of the biking trails which criss cross the preserve.  It's a beautiful ride with all sorts of interesting stops like log cabins from 1852 and pioneer graves.  There's also a nice balance between sun and shade, which really helped on a day that hit 80 before eleven.  Afterwards we headed back and jumped in the pool which was somehow ice cold.

Carly, Macy and Emily straddling the mighty Mississippi.

That night we cooked steaks which I managed to consume without bloodshed.  After another beer we headed down to the volleyball pit and played our customary game in which the kids get to randomly switch sides and go play on the merry-go-round as their whim dictates.

Sunday Donna, Macy, niece Emily and I headed back to Itasca to go canoeing.  The younder girls expressed their desire to go kayaking next year.  Apparently they don't like the way we drive.  During our trip we were regaled with Christian hymns from a nearby church, watched a procession of apparently high (or maybe jsut stupid) hikers and wondered at the acoustic properties of the lake as a young child, from the safety of his kayak, screamed to his father repeatedly, "Dad! I have to go to the baaaattthhhhrrroooooommm!"

If your dad loved you he would have rented the kayak with the port-a-potty.
All in all it was another great trip, albeit too short.  We are talking about making it a three or four day weekend next year.  I wonder what first-minute catastrophe will befall us in 2011... fire?  Locust plague?  Sudden blindness?  I can't wait to find out!

Would it be camping without chocolate chip pancakes?


  1. that canoeing picture looks like macy is about to bop me on the head with a paddle.