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.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Voyageurs National Park: Fishing and Harry Oveson's Fish Camp

Noelle's aunt and uncle are up visiting and so today, since I had the day off, we went out on their boat in the gray sky and wind
Sierra on boat
to do some fishing and exploring. Well, let's just say the fishing wasn't the most successful. Sierra caught one of the only fish, a black crappie.
Sierra's crappie
It was my first opportunity to see Harry Oveson's Fish Camp from land
Harry Oveson sign
and I enjoyed exploring the buildings,
Harry Oveson's cabin
boat at Oveson's
unknown object
family photo at Oveson's Fish Camp
including the old outhouse. 
Oveson's Outhouse 
yellow flowers

Monday, June 12, 2017

Koochiching State Forest: Paddling Moose Lake

We finally got the canoe out of the garage for the first paddle of 2017. Instead of braving the big water and wind on Rainy or Kabetogama, we headed to the much smaller Moose Lake near Littlefork. I think we mad a good decision. The small lake is quite scenic. We started out by paddling the outside of the lake close to shore in a counter clockwise direction.
start of paddle
We were able to see some interesting plants being so close to shore
paddle 3
small pink flower
including iris
iris closeup
and sundew.
sundew 2
After circumnavigating the entire lake we cut across the center and then made our way back to the boat ramp in a clockwise direction. Along the way Sierra dipped her net into the water to try and catch fish (and her bath toy animals)
catching duck
and a dragonfly landed right on my hand at one point.
dragonfly on hand
It was a great way to get the 2017 paddling season started!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Judy Garland Museum

With a steady rain falling on the tent this morning, but sunny skies predicted for the afternoon, Noelle, Sierra and I headed into Grand Rapids for breakfast and to kill some time while we waited for the rain to end. After breakfast at a coffee shop, we headed to the combination children's museum and Judy Garland Museum. We spent a good portion of the morning in the children's museum, but then headed into the interesting Judy Garland portion.
Land of Oz
I learned a bit about Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. She certainly did not have an easy life. She was fed drugs as a child to get her to perform better; a pretty sad situation that left her addicted for life. Anyway, we toured the home she lived in for a short time before the family moved west to California.
Judy Garland home
There weren't any original objects inside, after all, no one expected young Judy to become the star that she was. There were plenty of period pieces though.
inside Judy Garland Home

The funnest part of the museum were the cut out outside where Noelle posed as the Tin Man
tin Noelle
and I as the "Cowardly Lion".
cowardly lion Eric
We ate a picnic lunch in the grass in front of the museum and then headed back to Scenic State Park as the sun poked through parting clouds.