Page 2 of MisterParks Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » Minnesota » Montevideo July 25th 2018

Prairie Waters Region, Montevideo, Minnesota We stayed one more day in Southwestern Minnesota because Joan had one more thing (I call them rebellion items) she wanted to see. At this point, though, as tired as we both are and as overwhelmed by everything we’ve seen, I’m not sure either one of us really had our hearts into this day. The original idea Joan had was to drive up to the Marsh Lake area, known as the Prairie Waters Region, rent a canoe and maybe do some paddling around some of the marshes and streams. She had read an interesting article about the area in our travel magazine and it appealed to her. One of the lakes in the area serves as a bird wildlife refuge. In fact it is, reportedly, the largest pelican rookery in North ... read more

North America » United States July 24th 2018

Pipestone National Monument, Pipestone, Minnesota We visited the last park on this trip yesterday - Pipestone National Monument - and what a terrific way to end the park tour. So many things came full circle here. Although I had no idea it would work that way when we planned the trip, this was a perfect last stop. This is a fairly small monument with a rather unique mission. It is run, like many of our national parks, as a cooperative between the U.S. government and other private agencies. In this case, the private agency is a Native American group. All Native Americans, but especially tribes like the Dakota and the Sioux from the Great Plains area have a keen interest in this park because it protects a sacred place. As the award-winning film relates, several Indian ... read more

North America » United States » Minnesota » Marshall July 24th 2018

Camden State Park, Lynd, Minnesota We broke camp yesterday morning and drove around 380 miles southwest to this State Park in southwestern Minnesota. Our original plan had us spending a couple nights in St. Cloud, but we canceled that stop to add time to our Voyageurs stay. We both think that was a good idea, although it would have been better if we could have been at a better campground - we aren’t very happy with Arnold’s and Joan gave it a pretty poor review. But you don’t know these things when you make early reservations, and there really weren’t too many options available up here anyway. We are now done with Voyageurs and although it was a long drive, we managed it OK. We picked up US 71 right in International Falls and just followed ... read more

Ketogama Visitor Center, Voyageurs National Park As I’ve said a couple of times about Voyageurs, without a boat, you are sort of up the creek without a paddle - or a boat, or even maybe not on the creek at all! As a ranger pointed out, you can rent boats from private companies, but if you add in camping equipment, provisions, and maybe a guide, it is going to get expensive. So for most of us, the only way to see this park is by taking advantage of what the park service offers. They have several programs that include both larger tour boat cruises and smaller canoe-based experiences. We’ve taken advantage of both kinds in this park and have enjoyed them immensely. (Warning, though, they fill up quickly, so sign up for these things before you ... read more

Rainy Lake Visitor Center, Voyageurs National Park, International Falls, Minnesota Ranger-led programs are some of the most important things to participate in when you go to a National Park. They operate on a schedule and, sometimes their schedule doesn’t dovetail with yours, but whenever possible, take advantage of their programs. Even in this day and age, Rangers maintain an infectious level of enthusiasm which helps animate their message. Plus they simply know so much, because they have the opportunity to read and study a particular park full time - something us casual visitors can only hope for on a four or five day visit. In some places, it can become your only way to see the park, as at Voyageurs. If you don’t have a boat of your own, and maybe aren’t interested in renting one ... read more

Arnold’s RV Campground, International Falls, Minnesota As I predicted, yesterday was very much a down day. We had a late pancake-bacon-and-egg breakfast and managed to grill up some T-bone steaks and corn-on-the-cob for dinner. And I we got the dishes done and the sewage tanks dumped. Otherwise, it was a do-nothing day. Partly, we are waiting for our last two boat rides in the park, but they aren’t until Thursday and Friday. So we have a couple of days that we’ve assigned to just resting up in preparation for the drive back home. Based on the weather reports, its going to be a hot one, and I think its at least 1500 miles driving, so it will take us a few days. We have a couple stops along the way to break it up, but still, ... read more

Ash River Visitor Center, Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota We had signed up for the ‘Wildlife by Canoe’ ranger program out of the Ash River Visitor Center. The park has three visitor centers, although they aren’t all open all year round. Rainy Lake is the one closest to International Falls, where we are camping. Ash River is nearly an hour away back down highway 53 towards the southeast. We had phoned there several days ago to sign up for the two-hour canoe trip. The description of the trip included skirting the shores of the Ash River to see what might be visible from the water. Even though it involved some paddling, we thought it would be fun. When I signed up they said that you didn’t need to be experienced rowers, just that you needed to be ... read more

Voyageurs National Park, International Falls, Minnesota We took our first ‘cruise’ yesterday in Voyageurs National Park. The Grand Tour of Rainy Lake, I think it was called, aboard the Park Service boat Voyageur. It wasn’t a huge boat, compared to many we’ve been on up here, but it was still nearly full with around fifty people. The upper deck was where the best views were, but we didn’t scramble up there fast enough, so we spent most of our time on the outdoor portion of the lower deck, standing or leaning against the siding. (We could have sat in the enclosed lower deck, but that was too confining for the gorgeous day. The tour doesn’t pretend to see all of the park - that would take a couple of days, I’m sure, but it did cover ... read more

Arnold’s Fishing and RV Camp, International Falls, Minnesota Yesterday was a down day. We will be taking a few of them this week as we rest up to start the trip home. It is also a little warm up here - in the icebox of the nation - so, in general, we will be trying to take it a little easy and not push our poor, old, tired bodies further than they can go. (Cue the violins!) I made a bacon and eggs breakfast and we took an early afternoon nap. I beat Joan at Yahtzee - I never mention the times she beats me - and she got mad at me for gloating again! But it was, generally, just a do-nothing day. Except, I actually finished a book. It is part of our traveling routine ... read more

Rainy Lake Visitor Center, Voyageurs National Park, International Falls, Minnesota When we get near the end of a trip, I admit that we get really tired. It becomes increasingly difficult to sustain the same level of energy and excitement as we get further and further into the trip. As exciting as each of these parks might be, there is a certain amount of shell shock that sets in and there is a definite risk of shortchanging a park and not giving it as much attention as it deserves. We are definitely facing that problem here at Voyageurs partly because we are so tired. But also because this is a very difficult park to explore if you don’t have a boat. The park literature is very clear about that as they tell you that there are no ... read more

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