We absolutely lucked out and got a great campsite at Split Rock State Park. We happened to walk in just after a cancellation came in for one of the sites that you use a cart to haul all your stuff in, far away from other sites.
The dining room was ok.
But the view from the living room was spectacular, overlooking the lake and the lighthouse.
We headed down the hill to explore the lakeshore.
I’ve got the whole lighthouse in my hand…
This is a rather unfortunate composition of me against the lighthouse – Minnesota’s most photographed place, perhaps has never quite had this vantage point.
It was a wonderful night with the moonrise. Can’t decide if the close-up, middle, or wide angle views are my favorite, so all follow.
Heading North for a rare weekend with all three kids. Might be the last time in a long time they are all together, except for a day before Claire leaves for Iceland.
Since we had some extra time, we stopped at one of those places we always drive by on the way up north, Moose Lake State Park Agate and and Geologic Center. After ogling the agates in the display, it was time for some impromptu swimming. Martin decided it was time to try the experimental sand hair exfoliate.
Next it was off to Jay Cooke State Park, just south of Duluth – another one of those drive-by parks that often gets missed on the way up the North Shore. It is one of Minnesota’s truly under-appreciated parks.
The St Louis River battles through strongly tilted slate beds as it runs into Lake Superior.
A broader view of the valley, downstream from the park.
A closer look at the tilted slate beds.
We lucked onto a primo camp site – not too close to other sites, with a nice rock backdrop.
The swinging bridge is replaced after the floods of 2012.
Martin gazes into what we called the “cauldron of doom” where the river drops into a maelstrom of water and foam.
The forest along the river near the highway bridge.
We made one final trip to Wheatsfield Grocery in Ames to sell Christmas trees. As in final-final. When we planted our field windbreak years ago, we planted the trees 5 feet apart instead of the usual 20 feet apart to account for trees that might not mature or get thinned for Christmas trees. The windbreak is now pretty much thinned and/or the remaining trees are too large.
It’s a great experience to have in December. I sold trees as a college student, I sold them now as middle-aged, and with any luck I’ll be able to sell them again as an old man.
Martin thought it would be good to line up a bunch of sparklers and see how many he could light.
After this, we decided than rather than driving some distance for fireworks, we’d try Melbourne and were pleasantly surprised. We were close to the launch site (a baseball field away) and at that distance, the fireworks filled our range of vision. Best yet, from the time the last fireworks exploded to home – five minutes!
Martin spent the week at Dorian Music Camp at Luther College in Decorah this week.
He enjoyed the jazz ensemble, directed by an excitable Cuban bandleader. He also played in a full concert band.
He stretched a bit and even tried choir – you can only imagine the joyous sound from so many young voices. He also had some private lessons on trombone and did some keyboard work as well. A full week of music and fun.