What I Did on My Summer Vacation

I usually keep a journal on my vacations, here's what I wrote about my most recent:

• June 10, 2008

A new vacation! This time with Kate. We're on our way -- we actually got on the road before noon, 11:53 am, to be precise. We still have to make a beer stop, but we'll do that in Sauk Centre, then it's off to Glacial Lakes State Park near Starbuck, MN (I wonder if there's a Starbucks in Starbuck?).

• Later

The campground is deserted save the two of us. When we got here they were just finishing up mowing all the grass, that, coupled with the towering oaks that surround us, makes for one of the prettiest campgrounds I've ever been to. It looks more like a well-groomed city park than a state campground.

We did a couple of miles today after we set up camp. The park is mostly prairie, which isn't really what I wanted, I prefer hiking in the woods, it's cooler there. Prairie hiking has its charms though, hot as it can get. We hiked to the highest point in the park (1352 ft) and the view was stunning! We could see for miles and the terrain rolls in smooth, graceful yet dramatic arcs.

• Even later

We just got a visit from the park ranger, he said that all the employees will be "in training" tomorrow and no one will be here. That rocks! Unfortunately, he also said that it is probably going to rain all day. Crap!

We were hoping to do around six miles on hiking tomorrow. I guess we'll see.

• June 11, 2008

We haven't even gotten out of the tent today because it's storming and raining like mad. That made me think: this is the first time I can remember in all the times I've gone camping that I've been stormed and rained on.

When we got here yesterday we realized that I'd forgotten the propane for the camp stove (fucking idiot) and it's raining too damn hard to try to build a fire. I'm thinking about running into Starbuck to try to find some. Then at least we could make some coffee.

As it turns out it stormed really hard, our camp site turned into a mini river that fortunately turned just before it hit the tent. That didn't stop water from starting to pool up on the vestibule of the tent. I ran into Starbuck and got some propane, came back and made coffee. The weather report I managed to hear said it was going to rain all day, all night and probably for the next two days as well.

We stood there under our measly little "Casbah," a 5'x7' tarp tied to trees on one side and staked to the ground on the other. Why we thought a little tarp like that would keep is dry is totally beyond me, I'd chock it up to being excited to get out of town, and it was one of our last purchases before we did. We decided then and there that we didn't want to spend the next three days holed up in the tent, so we broke camp and changed our plans.

The lady at the store in Starbuck said that if we changed our minds about staying at the park that we should come back and have omelets. That seemed like a good idea while we figured out what we were going to do next. We sat there as she made a crap load of hamburgers for the local treatment center's lunch. We sat and sat. While we sat we looked at a map and tried to figure out what we were going to do next. And we sat. After about 40 minutes, with no sign of omelets in our near future, we decided to continue on our way.

We took a county road that turned to dirt after about two miles. There's nothing like driving on saturated dirt to scare the hell out of you, but we made it to the next highway and drove to Brooten to fill with gas and have lunch.

As I was leaving the Veranda after that week's Monday Night Jazz, I had mentioned jokingly to Ken and Gretchen Vork that if it was raining, we'd probably visit them for beer, so that's what we did. Ken met us there briefly, but had to go back to school to teach lessons, so we took a little nap on the couch until he got home. We had a beer with him and then went back to my house.

Ah, vacationing at home. Not my first choice, but we had limited options. We wound up watching the first DVD from the Firefly box set (damn good show!) and went to bed before midnight.

Thursday we woke up to beautiful weather: a sunny, blue sky with big, puffy white clouds, it was clear and clean smelling. We started regretting our decision to leave Glacial Lakes. To make the best of it we went to nearby Lake Maria State Park and spent about four hours hiking through its wonderful woods. We saw a couple deer, some swans, a bald eagle and dipped our feet in three lakes and a stream. It was wonderful! We came home and had a fire in the portable fire pit in the backyard and watched a storm brewing and pass through in about 15 minutes.

Kate checked the radar on the TV and we saw a huge, dark, concentrated cell of storms centered right on Pope County, where we would have been had we stayed at our camp site. We were suddenly very happy that we had split when we did.

Today our vacation ended. Kate had to get back to Minneapolis to start her new job, I have a gig tomorrow. The whole week was nothing like we'd planned, everything got tossed out the window with the rain, but we wound up having a wonderful time.

Next time, though, we don't stay home, we find someplace else. Apart from the time off from work, this didn't really feel like a vacation to me. Next time will be more fun!


Cari said…
I was wondering why you chose Glacier State Park. I could've told you that it wouldn't be your cup of tea. You should have gone to Scenic.

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