A Visit to St. Croix State Park

Our first camping trip as adults was at St. Croix State Park in 2006. One of the most popular state parks in Minnesota, it was a favorite camping destination for my family when I was a kid. A relatively short drive from home with lots of hiking, bike and canoe rentals, and interpretive activities, they also had a little store in case you forgot anything. We decided this was the perfect location to test our camping skills and eagerly hit the road for the weekend with our borrowed gear.

Our campsite in 2006, #211

Our campsite in 2006, #211

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One Last Hurrah

This post marks the end of our first scamping season. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been the proud owners of our bouncing, baby Scamp for six months already! We spent more time camping this year than we have in any other in any other season, but still, all good things must come to an end. Before the snow flies, we had one final outing and then put her in storage for the long, Minnesota winter.
scamp

The sun was shining when we arrived at Sibley State Park:
sibley state park

The prairie section of the park was alive with Eastern Bluebirds, they were everywhere you looked! This was the only one that was still long enough for a photo:
eastern bluebird

We were so happy to be outside, especially Danny. He doesn’t look like he minds riding shotgun, what do you think?

dog in backpack

Danny has had a recent injury so hiking is not allowed, that’s not keeping him off the trail though!

There are a lot of things to love about camping in the off-season. Not only are there no bugs, but the trees are absolutely dramatic without their leaves:
trees with sunshine

And you have the campground to yourself:
campground

It was a perfect trip, so peaceful:
sibley state park

But all good things must come to an end. Farewell, Geraldine, it has been a great season. I can’t wait to see you again when the snow melts.
scamp in storage

Happy Campers

I wasn’t the only one ready to play in the woods last weekend:
danny

It seems like the more eager you are to get out of town, the more time you spend waiting. Sometimes it feels like you have to wait forever:
train

It was worth it:
lake

We felt like we could lose ourselves in Paul Bunyon State Forest:
forest

Or on the trails in Itasca State Park:
woods

We even made a few friends along the way:
squirrel

Having so much fun was exhausting:
danny

A Walk in the Woods

We needed to retreat into the woods:scamp

It’s my favorite place to be:
woods

We stayed in Paul Bunyon State Forest, but there was no sign of the lumberjack or his blue ox:
woods

This guy was there though and based on his yelling, he was NOT happy to see us:
red squirrel

We hiked a quarter mile of the North Country National Scenic Trail before the mosquitoes got the best of us:
woods

And joined the tourists at the Mississippi Headwaters in Itasca State Park:
mississippi river

I was in awe of the oldest white pine in the park, it is more than 300 years old:
white pine

And by its younger siblings:
pine trees

The wildflowers were in bloom:
wildflowers

We had a lot of fun together:
woods

While we missed the Super Moon by one night, we thought ours was pretty darn super:
moon

And what’s a camping trip without a campfire?
fire

Looking Back: Crow Wing State Park

We haven’t had an outdoor adventure in far too long, sadly work schedules and other commitments have been taking their toll on our scamping adventures. Getaway plans are on the horizon, but in the meantime I have been looking back at outings we had in the spring until we once again find ourselves in the woods slapping mosquitoes.

This week I was looking back to our stay at Crow Wing State Park in the beginning of May. It was a beautiful weekend and our first trip out in our shiny, new Scamp. I hope you enjoy my walk down memory lane.

***

Within the borders of Crow Wing State Park are the remnants of Old Crow Wing, one of the most populous towns in Minnesota during the 1850s and 60s.
house

The town was at the confluence of the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers which provided easy travel routes and good hunting.
crow wing river

In early years, the region was inhabited by Dakota and there were conflicts with the Ojibwe who eventually gained control over the area.
dusk

By the late 18th century, European fur traders were in the area and a trading post was opened in 1823. The town slowly grew around it.
trees

The economy boomed and three churches were established, the remains of a small cemetery are visible near the site of the Catholic church.
historic cemetery

At its peak, there were between 600-700 residents in the town, approximately half were Ojibwe.
yellow rumped warbler

Clement Beaulieu ran the American Fur Company’s trading post. His home is the oldest standing structure in Minnesota north of St. Anthony Falls and was considered a mansion when it was built in 1849.
beaulieu mansion

But the success of the town came to a quick end.
robin

In 1868, the Ojibwe were relocated to the White Earth Indian Reservation. And in 1871, railroad magnate James J. Hill decided to route his Northern Pacific Railroad over the Mississippi in Brainerd, 10 miles north of Old Crowing.
boardwalk

Most of the town’s residents had moved on by 1880.
sun through trees

Today, Crow Wing State Park is on the National Register of Historic Places.

mississippi river

“Before him flowed the majestic Mississippi River, opening a delightful vista of sparkling waters, and romantic wooded shores far below, while above on a graceful bend of the river, picturesque little cottages peered out from shady nooks. A birch canoe was drawn up on the shore where he stood and another was swiftly gliding past the bank of the pretty island opposite.” – A description of the town of Crow Wing, published in Harper’s Magazine in 1858

 

Snake Bit

Our third camping trip out and our new Scamp has finally been named. I’d like to introduce you to Geraldine, named for my father who made her possible and the uncle who first suggested we look into them:
scamp camper

We headed fearlessly into the woods despite the forecast of rain:
woods

And explored the forest along the Snake River:
forest

The trees were filled with the voices of Song Sparrows:
song sparrow

We walked among the mosquitoes:
woods

And through wildflowers:
woods

The Snake River was spectacular and a new favorite spot on Minnesota:
snake river

Shadows of the Past

Within the borders of Crow Wing State Park are the remnants of Old Crow Wing, one of the most populous towns in Minnesota during the 1850s and 60s.
house

The town was at the confluence of the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers which provided easy travel routes and good hunting.
crow wing river

In early years, the region was inhabited by Dakota and there were conflicts with the Ojibwe who eventually gained control over the area.
dusk

By the late 18th century, European fur traders were in the area and a trading post was opened in 1823. The town slowly grew around it.
trees

The economy boomed and three churches were established, the remains of a small cemetery are visible near the site of the Catholic church.
historic cemetery

At its peak, there were between 600-700 residents in the town, approximately half were Ojibwe.
yellow rumped warbler

Clement Beaulieu ran the American Fur Company’s trading post. His home is the oldest standing structure in Minnesota north of St. Anthony Falls and was considered a mansion when it was built in 1849.
beaulieu mansion

But the success of the town came to a quick end.
robin

In 1868, the Ojibwe were relocated to the White Earth Indian Reservation. And in 1871, railroad magnate James J. Hill decided to route his Northern Pacific Railroad over the Mississippi in Brainerd, 10 miles north of Old Crowing.
boardwalk

Most of the town’s residents had moved on by 1880.
sun through trees

Today, Crow Wing State Park is on the National Register of Historic Places.

mississippi river

“Before him flowed the majestic Mississippi River, opening a delightful vista of sparkling waters, and romantic wooded shores far below, while above on a graceful bend of the river, picturesque little cottages peered out from shady nooks. A birch canoe was drawn up on the shore where he stood and another was swiftly gliding past the bank of the pretty island opposite.” – A description of the town of Crow Wing, published in Harper’s Magazine in 1858

 

The Newest Scamp on the Block

The Husband and I crossed an item off our bucket list this weekend when we finally headed to Backus, Minnesota to claim our brand new 13′ Scamp camper trailer. We had to be there first thing in the morning for pickup, so we were on the road by 6am in order to start the 3 hour drive from Minneapolis:
dawn

I was so excited, I never thought we would get there and the road seemed to go on forever:
road

When we knew we were close, we started to look for signs directing us to the factory. They made it pretty easy for us to find from the road:
scamp

They gave us a tour of the factory that employs 48 people who build approximately 350 trailers a year:
scamps

Duane Eveland, brother Gerald Eveland and sister Gladys Coffland partnered with Bolar American in 1971 to make camper trailers until Bolar went out of business in 1972. That left them with trailer molds but no marketing company. In 1975, they launched their “Scamp” trailer in the 13′ size. Now they come in 13, 16 and 19′ with multiple floor plans which means each trailer is custom built to order:

scamp molds

Scamp molds

Scamp molding area

Scamp shell prepping

scamp painting

Scamp shell painting

scamp wiring

Scamp wiring

scamp insulating

Insulating the Scamp

And final steps in their manufacturing:
scamp

Their last stop is the sewing room for cushions and curtains:
Scamp sewing room

I was a pretty happy Scamper:
happy scamp owner

David showed us how everything worked:
Scamp demo

And then it was the moment of truth, hooking the car up and getting ready to hit the road:
towing the scamp

We couldn’t wait to get scamping, so our first stop was Crow Wing State Park near Bemidji, MN:
scamp