This summer, Niecie and I got together with my sister Frannie and her husband Dustin for a weekend camping trip up the river in Frontenac State Park.
This camping trip was special for a couple of reasons. First, this was the first time I’d gone camping with my sister for more than a decade. Second, my sister was bringing her dogs along for their first ever camping trip. My sister wanted to see how the dogs would handle a trip like this.
We decided to pick somewhere close by. That way, if the dogs became a problem, we wouldn’t have to far too go to get home.
We settled on Frontenac State Park along the banks of the Mississippi River. This little state park in South-Eastern Minnesota is located a few miles North of Red Wing. The park itself is nestled along the buff side overlooking the river.
Nala and Sarabi joined us for their first ever camping trip.
When we arrived, we discoved the campground was packed to the gills. I gathered from the chatter that a large family was having a reunion and everyone’s aunt, uncle and second cousin had shown up. They were a little loud but pleasant enough.
While the crowded camp ground didn’t bother us all that much, the dogs were restless. Maybe they were uncomfortable with strangers in a strange place, but all evening they were on edge.
While we were pitching camp, my sister decided to take the dogs on a short hike to wear them out. They would care about the other people a whole lot less if they were tired.
This little blue tent continues to grow on me each time we use it. It may not be my favorite, but it does it’s job well.
Niecie and I quickly pitched our tent and set to work unpacking the rest of our gear. This little blue tent may not have been my favorite, but it had served us well during our trip westward earlier this year.
Frannie and Dusty’s tent had proved to be a little more difficult to erect. They’d brought their largest tent to ensure the dogs had ample room, but it proved a little more frustrating than ours had.
While we finished unpacking, Dusty started working on the fire on which we’d cook our dinner. We were having one of my favorite camp meals, brats.
My sister triumphantly holds up her hearty feast. We were eating well tonight.
An after dinner hike
After dinner, we decided to take what we thought would be a short hike down to the river. It proved to be one of the most difficult hiking trails in the park. The steep trail was laced with more than half a dozen stair cases leading down to the river bank.
Hiking down the bluff side wasn’t too bad, but the steep trail was sure to be a workout on the way back up.
The sun was just cresting the horizon, as we arrived at the end of the trail. The crimson sun was casting a warm light over Lake Pepin, a wide, deep section of the Mississippi River.
The hike down the trail hadn’t been too bad, and the view from the river bank made up for what would surely be a trek back up the bluff side.
With the sun now falling quickly below the horizon, we began the journey back up the trail. It may have been a work out, but it was a beautiful work out. As it grew darker we began to pick up the pace. No one wanted to hike back up a steep trail like this in the dark.
We were huffing and puffing when we arrived back at the campsite, ready to stoke the fire and enjoy a smore or two.
While the others restoked the fire I took a few minutes to rest up after our long hike.
We all woke the next morning, exhausted, but in good spirits. The dogs had kept us all up with their nervous stirrings. It turns out Nala and Sarabi are really frady cats in disguise. Once darkness fell the dogs had huddled around our ankles staying close to the fire’s warm light.
The fearless hounds actually turned out to be fraidy-cats. The busy campground kept them on high alert.
My sister said in the tent things had been worst. My sisters dogs are very protective of their humans and this became a problem when, in the tent, they weren’t able to see where the sounds their sensitive ears were hearing.
Frannie and Dusty had gotten up early to take care of the nervous puppies and had prepared breakfast over the fire. The pancakes may not have turned out, but fresh eggs and bacon were a welcome sight for some very sore eyes. A heavy pot of rich coffee, heated over the fire, was probably the best part of meal.
One more Hike
After breakfast, Frannie and I decided to take the dogs on another hike while Niecie and Dusty broke camp. We took a shorter less difficult route along the ridge line.
Here are a few photos I took along the way.
Our trip to Frontenac may not have been perfect, but it sure was a lot of fun.