St. Paul July 7
Sarah and Sarah had asked us at the start of the summer if we would be interested in joining them on a tent camping trip. Ed said “no thanks” and Chris said “yes, this is the year to push the comfort zone”. Chris did suggest that this camping experience should be 1) close to St. Paul and 2) have flush toilets somewhere nearby. She had camped once before, 45 years ago.
The July 4th weekend had Chris, Sarah and Sarah camping at Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park Reserve. While only 23 miles from our condo, it is 6,000 acres in Anoka County with 7 lakes, a nature center, swimming beach, bike trails, a golf course and camping.
Ed drove Chris to the campground Friday where we met up with Sarah and Sarah, set up the tent campsite and headed out for a bike ride (with Ed) covering wetlands, forested shorelines and the golf course. Returning to the campsite, Sarah Leismer became the head chef…getting the firepit started and putting together a delicious meal of gnocchi and marinara sauce, grilled fresh vegetables and Italian sausage. After cleanup and conversation, the traditional campfire s’mores were for dessert. Ed left and those remaining took walks to the beach to watch local resident fireworks.
Saturday morning had some of us venturing for the showers and then enjoying coffee/tea, granola and fresh fruit. We then (without Ed) went for a bike ride in the other direction. This took us along one of the other lakes, into the town of Centerville and eventually to the Wargo Nature Center to check out their displays. Normally, canoes/kayaks/paddle boards can be rented out at the Center; however, because of the recent flooding we have had and the wind, these activities were not advised. There is a canoe trail that connects 5 of the 7 lakes.
Ed joined us in the afternoon back at the campsite for some card games. Dinner was grilled hot dogs, potato salad (Leismer first grilled the potatoes and then peeled them before adding celery, scallions, parsley, dijon mustard and mayo), and corn on the cob. S’mores for dessert. Ed left and the mosquitoes were a little more aggressive tonight so we headed early for the tent.
We did get rain in the early morning hours of Sunday but by the time we were up and out, we were able to get things dried out to greet Ed who had returned for breakfast. Beside the firepit with grate, we also had a Coleman stove and a little “thing” that boils water. Breakfast camping: coffee/tea, fresh fruit (banana/grapes/cherries), scrambled eggs, precooked bacon, grilled SPAM (just for Ed), and pancakes!!!! What a feast!!! I never thought one could do so much in the outdoors.
Ed and I left after breakfast cleanup and gear packing up. Sarah and Sarah were going to get the tent down and head for home.
It was a lovely weekend sharing time with one of our daughters and her partner. It really felt that we were in “nature” but it was nice to know that the city was close. The campsite was full and we enjoyed watching folks come and go; park rangers stopping by to chat; talking with a visitor at the nature center who was out finding insects, and deciding that camping is something that Chris would enjoy doing again, and that Ed enjoyed being a day visitor.
Chris and Ed July 7 7:45 pm