Sunday, August 19, 2012

Unstoppable camping

Last weekend we left for Banning State Park on Sunday. I started developing the flu on Saturday night, but I'm stubborn and I really was looking forward to camping so we went. Brian doesn't like camping. Which he reminded me several times. So we took lovely photos like this:

Coffee is very important to me, even when camping. Particularly as I had the flu - being well caffeinated is important. So instead of doing the typical percolator over the fire, I went with the Starbucks Via instant coffee, which didn't suck. I would recommend it. Our campsite was beautifully wooded and the campground was quiet, clean, and well-run.

The Quarry Trail at Banning was especially beautiful. Banning is near the town of Sandstone, MN, and there they mined -big shocker- sandstone! The quarry went bust in 1918 and became a state park, but many buildings remain. There's an excellent trail guide to all the old features, and we really enjoyed our hike.

This reminded me of something out of Lost. Trains used to run between the stone walls and Brian climbed down to check it out.

The Kettle River runs through the park and we hiked some gnarly post-flooding trail. That was really fun - I was feeling adventurous so I jumped off a bunch of random dangerous stuff and surprised Brian. The river was so beautiful!

Brian climbed inside this weird pothole thing. He had a rock climbing phase when we lived in Grand Forks, and he's still really good at it!

Tired hikers!
There was another building where the power was generated, all four walls were standing and we climbed inside for a closer look.

That's where our hike started to sort of suck. My shoe got stuck in a crazy bog caused by a spring, and when Brian tried to rescue me he got stuck by a wasp or hornet. I couldn't get the stinger out but luckily we both survived the hike back to our campsite where we ate veggie dogs and pretzels and s'mores.

The next day i woke up at 6am and read until Brian woke up. I read a great book called After Life, which i definitely recommend! I took a powerful 2 hour nap and then we went to the Hinckley Fire Museum. I love museums and historical stuff and old stories, so it was one attraction I didn't want to miss! Unfortunately my fever was really high when we were there, so I was shivering badly and was a little weepy. The museum was really well done and despite being sick I was still in a crazy great mood and loved it! When my mind is made up that I'm going to be happy, damnit, I will be! But Brian was all freaked out so we were going to grab some lunch in Hinckley and head back to camp. Once I got some food and ibuprofen in me, I felt much better so we went on to St. Croix State Park for a bike ride. I wasn't that impressed - there was a terrible windstorm a year or two ago and the park was devastated. It looked like loggers had come through and smashed everything. But we rode a leisurely 10 miles and waved at Wisconsin across the river.

That night we had veggie burgers and grilled corn. Brian made me supper because I was feeling crappy, and we hung out and made s'mores. I ate so damned many s'mores, whoa. I make mine with fudge stripe cookies instead of graham crackers and Hershey's bars, and they're really delicious.

On Tuesday, we had to get back so Brian could work a short shift at the bike shop. I also had plans to get my 10 year sobriety medallion at my 12-step group that night. (YAY!) So we had a quick lunch and packed out. We didn't get a chance to see the waterfalls at Banning, or hike any of the other trails, so I would definitely like to get out there again. Brian still hates camping so we will see how soon that happens! He enjoyed himself overall, but Brian is not adventurous like me.

So, I'm still sick (a week later!) but have been knitting lots so it's not the worst. Hopefully I feel better soon so we can go on more adventures. We're hoping to go to Portland in October. Brian is in the process of transitioning to a new job so we're not sure if he'll be able to get the time off. His new job involves traveling to Chippewa Falls, WI several days per week so hopefully I will tag along and I can call it an adventure!



  1. This looks really fun! I'd love to drag my hubby off on an adventure again soon! We'll have to keep this place in mind.

  2. You guys are so dang cute! I'm glad you had fun even though you were sick and I hope you feel 100% better soon.

  3. Wow, I can't believe how much stuff you did being sick! Starbucks Via instant just got me through a several day hotel stay that had hands down the worst coffee I've ever tasted in the rooms. Blech. I was surprised at how good the Starbucks stuff was for being instant.