"Camping" in a Camper Cabin with my Boys in Jay Cooke

>> Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Last July, Henry and I spent 2 nights in a tent in Jay Cooke State Park in northern MN. This past weekend, I went back with Henry (5) and Charlie (3) for 2 more nights. Only this time, we rented a "camper cabin" instead of staying in a tent. Here's our photo diary of the weekend:

A loaded car as we picked up Henry from school on Friday.

The 2+ hour drive was PRETTY quiet.

The boys thought our little cabin ("Gabbro") was AWESOME. It's 12x16', can
sleep 6, and has a little table that seats 4 in the lower right. And baseboard heat!

Hanging out as I cooked supper over the campfire in front of our cabin.
The front 1/3 is screened-in porch, and the back 2/3s is the cabin itself.
It's tiny, but it doesn't need to be any bigger.

Friday night supper: angus hot dogs and kielbasa.


Exploring the woods right behind our cabin!

On Jay Cooke's famous "Swinging Bridge" over the (noisy) St. Louis River. Amazing.

Playing a little farther upstream. You can barely make a few people out
near the top/middle on a little cliff above the falls.

Looking down on the falls.

The boys making me nervous as they were PRETTY close to the edge of that cliff.
(The edge is just past their heads.)

Group selfie with mist from the falls behind us!

Down under the Swinging Bridge.

Dudes on the bridge.

Close up of the last photo.

View from our front deck. We were a nice distance from some vault toilets and a water spigot.

Headed back from brushing our teeth.

Getting settled in for the night. Henry's sitting in my bed, and he slept above Charlie.

Zoning out before bed. He was tired!

I didn't sleep too well the first night. Maybe I was a bit nervous for how the night would go. Henry got up at 1:20 to pee, so him and I went out into the moonlit night to pee off our deck and point at the Big Dipper. Then back to bed. The boys slept well:

Charlie at 6 a.m.

Henry catching flies.

Chilly Saturday morning breakfast: scrambled eggs with kielbasa.

Breakfast burritos (seasoned with wild chives growing near our cabin) and apple walnut oatmeal.

Our "little buddy" for the weekend liked our apple core.

Quick walk to the camp office.

My cousin Michael stopped out to visit, and we took him on a hike. We went just down the road to Oldenburg Point:

Looking out over the sprawling St. Louis River.

Michael helping Henry down some steep parts. I didn't plan it this way,
but it was great having extra help on this tough hike. Thanks Cuz!

The highlight of Charlie's trip might have been this dead beaver.

Hiking back across some amazing rock formations with the NOISY river in the background.

I made a point while making these next 2 photos to hold my camera perfectly horizontal
to show how steep this was. This part of the trail was more vertical than horizontal!

More steep climbing. Thanks for helping Henry, Michael!

The fun steps that Charlie counted as we climbed. By his count, there were "onety-one."
(In actuality, there were 54.)

We said goodbye to Michael and headed into Duluth. We played around Canal Park for a bit and got lunch at DQ:

Lounging on Daddy as he finished his cone.

By the lighthouse in Canal Park at Lake Superior!

Henry found a "fort"...

... as Charlie was throwing rocks. These are my boys. :)

Another selfie before leaving the world's largest lake.

Petting sturgeon at the Great Lakes Aquarium!

This one liked Charlie.

Overlooking St. Louis Bay with the famous Lift Bridge in the background.

Charlie loved spotting all the "Dory fish!"

Back at the cabin for nap time.

Charlie wanted to wear jammies for nap time. OK, whatever.

My view on the porch relaxing for 2.5 hours as both boys napped hard inside!

Climbing rocks in his swimsuit down by that little bay near the Swinging Bridge.

More climbing.

Out in the COLD water.

MORE climbing. Always with the climbing.

Climbing down.

You can barely see my boys on the beach.

Ham steak and pork chops on the fire!

Saturday night supper was GOOD: ham steak, pork chops with pears,
and garlic shrimp in the cast iron pan.

It started getting chilly during supper.


He likes sugar...

The boys were excited to shower!

I slept a LITTLE better on Saturday night, but still not great. Here was the scene at 6:20 a.m.:

Both boys starting to stir on the left.

Bacon over the fire on Sunday morning!

Our cabin with cooking bacon.

Eggs and an english muffin.

Bacon, egg, and cheese english muffin sandwich!

The boys thought it was too chilly on Sunday morning, so we had breakfast inside.

All loaded up! One final selfie in front of the cabin! Good-bye Jay Cooke!

We made a quick stop near Thomson Dam just a few miles from our campsite to explore a place that Henry really liked last year:

Running to the next look-out point.

Through the pines high above the St. Louis River.

The rock formations are beautiful.

Looking down 50' to the river. The dam is in the background on the other side of the bridge.

They always picked the hardest/most fun route up the rocks.

One FINAL selfie in the woods before loading up for home.

We stopped for donuts at Tobie's Restaurant, and this is Charlie
still TECHNICALLY awake getting ready to crash from a sugar high.

Another quiet ride. (Henry's under his pillow.)

Throwing "confetti" (petals from our crab apple tree) for Mama for Mother's Day.

The Camper Cabin made camping a LOT easier. I hope to do it again (at a different state park) mid-week sometime with the boys this summer, and sometime with my wife and boys all together. We'll see if we can fit that all in this summer. (And here's photos from last July when it was just Henry and me at Jay Cooke - we did a LOT of same things, because he liked everything we did back then so much!)

I might post a few short videos in the next week that give a better sense of the power of the St. Louis River. It's much less impressive in these small still photos.


drdave 2:27 PM, May 17, 2017  

Looked like a good time was had by all. Glad to see a Dad still willing to spend a little un-plugged time with his boys! They'll remember that weekend when they are Dads.

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