The end of our time in Minnesota (and the USA!)

We finally reach the end of our week in Lake Superior week.  We set up camp for 2 nights at Cascade River State Park.  The good news was that we could drive up to our site,  which made unloading a bit easier.  The bad news was – we could drive up to our site.  So, of course, our campsite was right off the same road as everyone else’s campsite, so we didn’t have the same seclusion we had at Split Rock Lighthouse.

Nonetheless, the weather promised to be clear enough and warm enough for us, so we set up our tent and started our camping adventure!


We had a mostly successful time camping – the weather held and N and I weren’t too disturbed about rolling down to the end of the tent each night, since the ground wasn’t very flat!

We were lucky to attend a cool program about wolves held one night at the campsite.  Did you know that Minnesota is the only state in the contiguous US that has always held a viable gray wolf population?  What does that mean? Wolves used to be widespread across most of the United States, but with the arrival of the European settlers, they were largely exterminated.   They only remained in the small Northeastern corner of Minnesota where we were camping.  Luckily, they are now on the increase to the south in Minnesota and other areas of the US, including, famously, Yellowstone.  We didn’t see wolves in MN or Yellowstone, but honestly, I’m not sure I would want to be face-to-face with one of those guys!  It was fun learning about them.  I know the boys (especially L) were fascinated to learn about them.

We also got to hike in the last few state parks on the North Shore. Including my favorite, Temperance River State Park.


We walked along the river rapids until we were above them, and just at the calm river part.



It involved rock climbing, so the boys were all in!  We spent a fun afternoon playing in the river.




I will be honest – this stressed me out a bit.

After Temperance River, we headed to our campsite at Cascade River and took a hike there – we got some more nice waterfall views.  They never really get old!


After this exciting week, we headed down to the Twin Cities, where my aunt and uncle graciously allowed us to come and invade their house for a week to decompress, wash laundry, eat real food, clean out our car, and repack for our trip outside the US.

While we were there, we spent a fun day in St. Paul.  We headed first to the Como Zoo, a small, free zoo.  We had a great time. The small size made it easy to walk around, and they had all the “big” animals the boys wanted to see. Including:

a swimming Polar Bear;


a cute baby orangutan;


a gorilla, and;


the star of the show – Sparky the Sea Lion, who has been performing since 1956 (this was Sparky #7 or so).  She was truly amazing! We were all enthralled.


We loved our time at the little Como Zoo (bonus that it was free!)  After the zoo, we headed a few block away to the Science Museum of MN.  As a bonus, they had a National Park site in the science museum, so the boys took a few minutes to become Mississippi National River and Rec Area junior rangers!


Then we headed into the Science Museum, where the boys got to pretend to be tv broadcasters:


raced a tyrannosaurus Rex,


and the Twins mascot


touched a dinosaur ankle bone,


relived their newborn days (at least their eyesight from those days)


and did a science experiment on their own saliva


Finally, after 10 weeks on the road – we are hitting the skies!  See you in Iceland!

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