Tuesday, July 6, 2010

George Crosby Manitou State Park {Day 1}

-July 1, 2010-
When Kyle got offered his new job, he decided to take some time off between the switch, at which time we planned a camping/backpacking trip up on the north shore. Of course since it was 4th of July weekend, there weren't many spots open, but we were wanting to venture out to backpacking anyway, so we reserved a campsite for 3 nights at George Crosby Manitou State Park. Oh the adventures that were awaiting us.

**Side note, I will try my best to depict the naive excitement we had starting out... which throughout the post you will soon see the excitement dwindle :-P **

We made our way north, Thursday morning, Harpo in tow.
harpo & daisy

He loves riding in the car.
harpo out window

We had a short stop in Duluth, grabbed a bite to eat at Subway and some coffee to keep us awake. It was a gorgeous day, a little chili walking around Duluth, but that was just because of the breeze coming off the lake. Remember back in October 2007, when we first came to Duluth. Oh wait I wasn't blogging back then, well here is a picture of Harpo from that trip and from today as well.
harpo windy duluthharpo in duluth '10

We got back on the road to continue up 61, the road that runs parallel to Lake Superior on the North Shore. We stopped again in Two Harbors for a quick little jaunt around their bay.
two harbors

We walked out to the little lighthouse. They had another lighthouse, which was a paid tour so we passed. As we were leaving the touristy area we saw a funny, brown, horse looking thing trotting down the middle of the road. "was that a moose?" it could have been a baby moose. We got up to where he went into the brush and strained our eyes to see if we could see anything, but we couldn't find him. We REALLY wanted to see a moose during this trip, and this really got our hopes high!

We traveled farther up north and made it to the state park. We checked in at the self registrations. This was a very primitive state park, no running water, no electricity, all sites were backpacking campsites and there wasn't even an office, just a little shelter where you self registered and checked in. After stopping at the little hut, we drove on in to the lone parking lot and got all suited up and ready to hike into our campsite. Since we were less than 2 miles from the car, and we were staying at the same spot for three nights, we decided to bring our normal tent (not the little backpacking tent we have). There wasn't room for it, but since 'we didn't have to travel very far' Kyle said he'd just carry it. We also were carrying a bag with Kyle's accounting book... if you've ever taken accounting - you should know that this is NOT a light book! And of course I couldn't leave my DSLR behind so I had that in a separate bag as well. Boy were we newbies!
backpacking daisybackpacking kyle

We hiked to our campsite, and hiked and hiked... and eventually made it. Boy - we love camping secluded and were we ever... be careful what you wish for. After almost an hour later, we arrived to our campsite #2

It was the most luxurious campsite we'd ever seen! It was pretty awesome. We had multiple rooms! Here's the entry room, The kitchen:
the kitchen

The bathroom (latrine):
the latrine
And might I add, after 3 days of using these type of facilities, I was SOOO happy to see a port-a-potty!
the great outdoors

There were two 'bedrooms' (separate tent pad areas) and another little common dirt area! It was like a penthouse campsite! (pictures of the other rooms on the last day).
We immediately had welcoming visitors

We unloaded the heavy stuff... and we learned to NEVER go hiking while carrying things, lol. We set up the tent and dropped off our sleeping bags inside. Then decided to go on another short little jaunt before dinner time. There was a dead end just north of us that we decided to wonder up and check out the sites.

We found lots of different mushrooms. Don't worry we didn't eat any.
mushroom 2mushroom

The north path was pretty grassy... which now I see it only as a 'preview' of what we were to encounter the next day. Harpo was still hanging in there, pretty excited. He also didn't know what he was getting himself into for the weekend.
grassy trail

We did see some pretty sites of the nearby river.
manitou river

And the sky was just gorgeous!
beautiful sky

We moseyed back to our campsite and started getting things ready for dinner. I went down to the river to gather and treat some water, while Kyle worked on starting a campfire.
water treatment

We had another friendly visitor during dinner. This little guy was NOT shy!
friendly chipmunk
And he liked to torment Harpo, of course Harpo was un-experienced with chipmunk hunting and was rather confused at first. But throughout the weekend, he got faster. Never caught him, but was faster about chasing him into the brush.

We cooked dinner and then went back to where I got the water to get some evening photos of the cascades. Ah it was so beautiful being in the great outdoors!
ManitouRiver Cascades


We made it back to camp and climbed in the tent ready for bed. It was an exciting day and we were looking forward to hiking and exploring the park more the next day.

As we were checking Harpo for ticks before we snuggled up in our sleeping bags (yes Harpo snuggles with us, he is one pampered pooch) we noticed these bright read dots.
harpos bug bites

Me being the worried, motherly, caregiver immediately got scared that something was wrong. They didn't seem to hurt him, and they definitely looked like bites. He had about 8 of them on his belly. We decided to just let them be and check on them the next day. Luckily they did go away, but he did get more all weekend. They just took about 24 hours to disappear. He is now well and no red bumps. AND he did get his heart guard this month so he should be all taken care of.

Ahh day one wasn't too shabby, a little rough having to carry all our gear in, but we recovered quickly and had the weekend ahead of us.

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