A Quick Camping Trip: Afton State Park

>> Saturday, April 13, 2019

After fixing up all the photos, I nearly forgot to post this! The 4 of us started Henry and Charlie's spring break 2 weeks ago with a night in a camper cabin at Afton State Park. (Our 39th MN state park, and our 9th or 10th camper cabin.) We pulled up on Sunday afternoon to a nicely secluded cabin:


Tucked back in the woods.


Charlie was zonked out.


On a recently cleaned up trail behind our cabin.
(Henry's proudly holding his pocket knife he got for Christmas.)


Charlie checking out his bunk.


The men's room in the visitor's center (open 24/7 for us) had a sweet baby blue hand dryer!...


...then my wife said "check out the YELLOW in the women's room!"


Starting a hike down to the St. Croix river.


Down, down, down.


Parts of a few trails were flooded. Note the tops of 2 benches in the water that faced the swimming beach.


Charlie "fishing."


Near the far north east corner of the park up the "North River Trail."


The boys under the bridge playing by the flooded St. Croix.


Farther north on the North River Trail


Looking for nature.


It doesn't look big, but when this Golden Eagle flew off,
it had a HUGE wingspan! We saw LOTS of Bald Eagles too.


A selfie finishing up our hike.


Teaching Henry how to start a fire.


He got it going!


Charlie chose the immediate route of hugging the baseboard heaters in our cabin.


Starting supper on the fire: lemon pepper garlic green beans...


... and hamsteak...


... and 2 chicken/bacon/ranch sausages from my brother-in-law.






Marshmallows!




Hot salted naan over the fire as dessert.


Ready for bed.


A final snack. Henry just did something gross, and Sarah's trying not to laugh.

Sidenote: I didn't realize that all the camping spots at Afton are "backpack in" and are a "strenuous 3/4 mile hike" from the parking lot. So when I asked to buy wood and take 2 bundles along, they found it strange. Because they're used to having wood out there for people, and then just using the honor system for people to come back and pay for what they used. So for the evening, there were 3 out of the 4 camper cabins in use, and at least 1 of the 2 yurts were being used as well. It was a nice quiet night!

It snowed lightly overnight, but we were cozy in our cabin. Henry woke up to pee around 6:30, and Charlie had been bouncing around for a bit just before that, so we all headed out to start a fire.




Now Charlie's got his pocket knife. (He had been bad the night before,
so it was taken away. He earned it back with his behavior by morning.)


Again, salted naan for dessert.




Just cozy by the fire.




Goodbye "Big Bluestem" cabin!

We went on one last hike along the South River Trail (the same long trail we were on the day before, but farther south). We took a short cut down the bluff instead of taking the trail:


Steeper than it looks.


Heading south.


Two bald eagles. And there were about a dozen out on some ice in the St. Croix!


We poked at the river for an hour.


Flooded areas near the river.


More bald eagles!


A selfie on the way out. (Charlie was being a pill, so he stayed in the car.)


A few hours later and AFTER A 2000 YARD SWIM,
I still had soot from the cast iron pan on my thumb.

I love cooking with my cast iron, but it's a bit of a mess to clean up after it's been on a wood fire. Oh well.

Back with more photos from Goldy's Run 10 Mile shortly. Happy weekend!

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