Camping on Lake Superior

Camping on Lake Superior
Camping Day 2

It didn’t just rain, it stormed.  Camping on Lake Superior makes sound travel quite a distance.  So thunder and lightning illuminated the tent like an all-night fireworks show.  Rain pattered the tent almost constantly and some moments, it sounded like the sky opened up and dumped everything it had on us.

At one point, Nate got up to check on the floor to see how wet it was.  He moved my bags from the side of the bed to the end.  My side of the tent was floating on a large puddle of water that was caught between the tent and the tarp.  It wasn’t leaking in, but it was damp.  He pushed on it to show how it jiggled like a waterbed.

Despite the lack of sleep, I was excited to get up when my alarm went off.  The rain had stopped and soft light and the sound of birds greeted me.  I dressed for the Kingdom Hall along with Cupcake.  At the last minute, the rest of the family decided to join us so they could explore Grand Marais.

I drove carefully down the road through thick fog.  Fog is so beautiful.  The air smells sweet and delicious.  The cool air is comforting and invigorating.  I kind of wish I could start every morning with a beautiful thick lake fog.

The Grand Marais Kingdom Hall was adorable.  It was a small, beautiful building with tall windows along each side.  Every once and awhile a bird would fly by and I’d have to refocus on what was going on inside, rather than the beauty outside.

The talk itself was so good!  The part that stuck with me was a metaphor.  If Jehovah throws us a lifesaver when we’re drowning, it’s up to us to make the effort to reach out.  All the life preservers in the world won’t matter if we don’t make the effort to reach out and grab that help he’s offering us.

After heading back to our campsite, I made bug spray.  The kids ran around playing while I enjoyed my tea.  We were all exhausted so we took a nap.  Once we woke up, we were ready for adventure!

We hiked down acrossTemperance River through the fog.  At the bridge, we used our drone* to take a family portrait.  There was a couple next to us who used to come to Temperance with their kids but this time, they were alone, their children all grown up.  It made me feel like freezing time and holding my babies in my arms.

They’ve grown up so fast.  Before I know it, they’ll have moved on with their lives and I’ll be taking vacations without them.  Right now, they are my little people.  I can protect them, guide them, love them and adore my time with them.  I don’t want to waste a moment.

We had a lot of fun exploring the rocks along the shore.  We’ve never gone past the beach before so we enjoyed going a little further.  Mr. Awesome was having a lot of fun jumping from rock to rock.  I think if we let them, they would have gone along the shore until they were tired.

We wanted to have dinner and relax before it got dark, so we walked back to our campsite.  Princess and I had butter mushrooms for dinner while everyone else had brats.

It was a wonderful day.  Camping on Lake Superior is so peaceful, an experience which could almost tantamount to the time when we’d been camping in Yosemite National Park. That night we crawled into bed and fell asleep to the sound of wind through the trees and slept deeply.

*Note: We found out later after asking a park ranger about their drone policies that drones are no longer allowed at State Parks.  They changed the policy last year.  Drones are interfering with Peregrine Falcon nesting grounds in certain areas.  Rather than police certain areas where they shouldn’t be used, they issued a full ban.  The videos we took with our drone were the only ones we took for the trip.  Birds are more important than getting some pretty footage for videos.

Check out our video from our day!

Did you miss Camping, Day 1?  Read about it here!

INSTAGRAM @ melissajg


Temperance River State Park

Temperance River State Park

Temperance River State Park is one of the most beautiful places in Minnesota, in my opinion.  Temperance has camping right on Lake Superior.  It’s got beautiful trees, flowers, and wildlife.  You can hear the sound of the lake lapping against the rocks, the waterfall roaring, the delicate song of the birds singing in the morning or the wind blowing through the branches of the trees.  The wind from the lake keeps mosquitos at a minimum.  If you’re there at the right time, you can enjoy being shrouded in the thick fog rolling in off the lake.

1st Day Of Camping

My favorite place to camp is Temperance River State Park.  It’s right off of Lake Superior.  At some of our previous campsites, we could see the lake from our campsite.  This time we chose a new camping spot, closer to the river than the lake.  It was my favorite spot so far!

The weeks prior to camping, I prepped to make sure that the day we left wouldn’t be too stressful or crazy.  I washed ALL of our dirty laundry.  With 6 people, that’s something to be proud of! Ha! I preordered food, prepped and made food, packed up and cleaned.

Even with all of the prep, the day of still had a lot of work.  At 7 am a heat advisory alert popped up on my phone, so we were trying to hurry before it got too hot.  I finished packing up outfits for myself, Princess and Mr. Awesome.  We loaded up the van while trying not to stress or fight.

Our goal was to leave by noon, but we left a little late at 1:30, which isn’t too bad.  The temperature was just starting to get unbearable.  We cranked up our air conditioning and began our long drive with Nate at the wheel.

Surprisingly, our first bathroom stop was 2 hours into our trip.  We stretched our legs and had a snack in the parking lot.  An ambulance pulled up next to us and offered the kids a tour.  I think everyone was too sleepy and shy to accept, but we thanked them for their offer.  We got back on the road with my turn to drive and didn’t stop until we got to Cloquet.

We had to pick up a couple things at Walmart that we’d forgotten.  Small mayo, ketchup and mustard, hot dog and hamburger buns, band-aids, butter, sandwich meat, chocolate, a bigger chair for Mr. Awesome, and swimming trunks for Nate.  We spent about an hour, at least, shopping.

I was getting really excited as we got back on the road.  We were so close to Lake Superior.  I was tingling with excitement and joy.  As we came over the hill and caught our first glimpse of the lake, my heart raced with happiness.

Usually, after a long drive, I get sleepy staring at the monotonous stretch of road before me.  Driving up the north shore, with glimpses of Lake Superior I could barely contain my excitement.  At some point, fog began to gather on the Lake and engulf the shore.  I think I had a dopey grin plastered on my face for the rest of the trip.

As soon as we pulled into Temperance, everyone else woke up.  The office was closed for the day, but we checked our initials off the list for our spot.  As we pulled into our new space Nate was also giddy with excitement.  The last time we’d been up, he’d scouted all the locations in search of the best one for our large tent and family.

This spot had a large pull through driveway with plenty of space for the kids to run around.  There was a huge tent pad and opposite the driveway, a nice large area for the picnic table and fire ring.  It was right next to the river, so we could hear it from our campsite.

The first thing we did was unload the topper on our van.  The kids set up the chairs while Nate and I set up the travel gazebo for the table.  That was, if it rained, our stuff would stay dry on the table.  I began pulling out the blankets and bags and handing them off to the kids.

We pulled out and set up our tent in exactly 5 minutes!  Sometimes we can do it faster, but we forgot to lock the roof beams before straightening out the legs.  I threw in the air mattresses and had the kids start blowing them up.  I pulled everything from the van and put the food in the trunk to keep it safe from bears.

After that, we made the beds so that we could fall into bed after we got tired.  The big girls immediately crawled into bed to relax. The mattress that had been laid out was so comfy. Cat worked on her sketches and Cupcake read comics.

I was itching to see Lake Superior and let it melt my stress away.  I asked everyone if they wanted to join me.  Only Mr. Awesome and Princess did.  They’re always up for an adventure!

We tried a new path that led to a rocky area by the lake, across from the beach.  It felt like we were climbing down into another world.  The lake was shrouded by fog which added to the mystery.

After letting the kids climb around on the rocks and try to skip pebbles on the shore,  I was ready to head back for dinner.  We climbed up the steep stairs leading back to our campsite.

For dinner, we made hamburgers.  Princess and I had 100% grass-fed beef and gluten free bread for our “buns”.  We cuddled around the campfire and enjoyed the warm fire in the dark.  We were happy to climb into our comfy beds once the embers burned down.

It was a fabulous first day of camping!  Have you camped at Temperance River State Park?  What campsite is your favorite?

Check out our video!

Continue on to Camping, Day 2!

INSTAGRAM @ melissajg