Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Camping at Jay Cooke State Park

Grant, Brody, Angie and I went on another weekend trip to a Minnesota State Park. This time we made our way north to Jay Cooke State Park. We left Friday May 29th, 2009 after work and made the approximately 2.5 hour drive to the park. We hadn't made reservations so were hoping that since it wasn't going to be a very warm weekend and it wasn't quite 'summer' yet there would be a spot. When we got to the St. Louis River that runs through the park we stopped by a bridge and checked out the rapids. It was a very pretty river!
Then we made our way to the park and checked in. Sure enough there was a site left for us. So, we went and set up camp.
It was a nice place. We had a site in the middle of the campground. It would have been nice to have one on the edge because they were more wooded and secluded but ours did the trick.

The next morning we got up and made some oatmeal for breakfast. Then we all went for a short hike to the swinging bridge.
The park has lots to do. There are hiking trails, tar bike trails, mountain biking trails, climbing is nearby as well as kayaking. It's a fun place! Anyways, we walked to the swinging bridge and checked out the scenery and some of the rapids - very nice!
Then Brody and Angie packed up and left to kayak the upper St. Louis. Grant and I waited for Erik Grove to come pick us up so we could go to Ely's Peak to do some climbing to practice for our Teton trip. When we got to Ely's Peak we hiked around looking for the spot we wanted to climb.

We ended up going in the wrong direction so had a longer hike than we planned. The Minnesota/Wisconsin climbing guide book didn't have the greatest directions to get to the climbs there. We eventually made it and set up our top rope on the climb called the Flake. We did that one a few times and also a couple others when the people next to us let us use their ropes. The rocks were kinda slippery and since it's near the north shore there is a no chalk policy. It was a little challenging to do lead climbs which is what we wanted to practice so Grove only did a couple.
Brody and Angie met us out there after they were done kayaking and we climbed most of the day.
After we had enough climbing we headed back to the campsite and set up a slackline. It was pretty funny to watch everyone give it a shot.

It's kind of addicting and Brody makes it look a lot easier than it is ;) After that we made supper in the dutch oven (this time we tried a new chicken and rice recipe instead of the usual tamale pie. It was good but we have to perfect it still so I'll post the recipe once we get it right) and then sat around the fire until we were too tired to stay up anymore.
The next morning Grant and Brody decided to kayak the upper St. Louis before we headed for home. Ang and I dropped them off at the put-in and then drove back to a pull-off where we thought we could hike back to the river to watch them part of the time. We parked and started our hike in. We didn't make it far and suddenly were in some kind of a swamp. We stood there for what seemed like a half hour trying to decide what we should do. Should we run across and get soaked? Maybe we should try to go along the edge where the trees are? Or we could just go back and meet them at the end. hehe ... finally we decided to just go for it and tromped through the wet mushy ground :) It didn't last long but we were both soaked for the rest of the hike. We followed the telephone lines until we made it to the river where we could watch the guys run Electric Ledge.

They did it a couple times and then went on there way to the end of the river. Ang and I hiked back out and met them at the parking lot to load up and head back to St. Cloud. It was another fun, successful, adventurous weekend with the Johnsons!

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