Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

Voyageurs National Park: Paddling Tom Cod Bay

Today Noelle, Sierra and I loaded up the canoe and our paddling gear and headed south down to Kabetogama Lake. We put our canoe in the water at the swimming beach at Woodenfrog State Forest Campground and paddled around the north side of Bittersweet Island
Bittersweet Island
and west to Tom Cod Bay. I thought Tom Cod Bay might be e good place to see some wildlife, since it is shallow and weedy. It's definitely not a place for motorboats.

As we passed some fisherman and entered the bay, we decided to take the first branch of the bay that lead west.
in Tom Cod Bay
We quickly passed a beaver lodge
beaver lodge
and soon came to a dead end. No problem, we just paddled through some reeds
paddling through reeds
to the next channel over and headed upstream. By this time we were getting hungry for lunch. Without a place to pull up off the water, we paddled into some cattails and ate in the canoe.
lunch in canoe
After eating we paddled as far as we could go until our progress was blocked by a beaver dam.
beaver dam

We turned around at the beaver dam and started to make our way back to the mouth of the bay. Unfortunately, a pretty stiff headwind made the paddling a little bit more work than we would have liked. A loon entertained us as we paddled, diving and swimming close to us for a while.
loon
Once back on Kabetogama Lake, we paddled close to the southern shoreline.
paddling past rocks
There were some interesting rock formations that we paddled past. We passed Bittersweet Island to the south this time
Bittersweet Island 2
and back to the beach at Woodenfrog. We went for a refreshing swim at the beach and caught minnows
catching minnows
and explored for spiders.
spider closeup

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Buffalo River State Park

We spent the last 2 nights camped at Buffalo River State Park. However, to be honest, we did not spend a whole lot of time in our campsite, other than sleeping, eating breakfast,
eating breakfast
and chasing away the tame chipmunks and 13 lined ground squirrels.
13 lined ground squirrel
Yesterday, before heading into Fargo, we walked a short nature trail that started near the campground. There were a few wildflowers in bloom in the prairie,
pink flower cluster
black eyed Susan
and an interesting glacial erratic boulder.
Sierra at erratic
Then the trail headed into some woods
Sierra and Noelle walk
bordering the Buffalo River where we saw some big bur oak trees
bur oak
and a weird insect.
insect closeup

Today we headed back into the prairie to explore a little bit more, before we started our drive back to International Falls. We ended up hiking a fire break past a single tree,
walking the prairie
perhaps an elm. There was lots of milkweed,
milkweed 2
some of it in bloom.
milkweed closeup
We even saw a monarch butterfly caterpillar.
monarch caterpillar
There were a few other wildflowers in bloom as well.
unknown flowers
coneflower 2
rose
We made our way to a gravel road and hiked it to the park entrance sign
entrance sign
and then to a short trail
Sierra touching the prairie
that led us back to where we had parked the car. Our parking spot was conveniently located near the swimming pond which we took advantage of, though the water was a bit cool.
in swimming pond

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Day in Fargo

Yesterday after work, Noelle, Sierra and I ate a quick dinner and then hit the road headed southwest and to Buffalo River State Park where we set up camp in the near midnight darkness. This morning we awoke, ate breakfast and headed into North Dakota. It was Sierra's first time in the "Peace Garden State." Our first stop was the Fargo Moorhead Visitor's Center where we got to see both a replica of
Sierra and Eric at chipper
and the original wood chipper from the movie Fargo.
Noelle and Sierra at chipper
From the visitor's center, it was a short drive to the Red River Zoo. Among Sierra's favorite attractions at the zoo were the river otters,
otter at Red River Zoo
the carousel,
Sierra on carousel
and the baby sheep in the petting zoo.
Sierra and baby goat

It was lunchtime as we left the zoo and so we drove towards downtown, looking for a good spot for a picnic lunch. We ended up stumbling upon the wonderful Lindenwood Park
fountain 1
where we ate, played at the playground (2 of them actually), and explored the park.
bridge over Red River
We then headed into downtown for a walk around
Fargo Theater
before heading over to Fargo Brewing Company for a couple of pints, including a Wood Chipper IPA.
Sierra at brewery
Sierra and Daddy at logo

After playing Uno at Fargo Brewing, we headed back downtown for dinner at Rhombus Guys and then to the Fargo Moorhead Redhawks baseball game at Newman Outdoor Field.
Newman Outdoor Field
game tickets
eating dippin dots at game
Red Hawks game
We watched a very entertaining game, and the hometown Redhawks came out on top.