Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Super-Fun (and Cheap) Camping Weekend with the Johnsons

We had a great, laid-back, recreational-activity-packed, cheap weekend with the Johnsons! We had some destinations in mind but didn't have any reservations or for-sure plans. It started out on Thursday night when Grant and I picked Angie, Brody and Summit up and made our way to Redwing. We were in no hurry and made a couple stops along the way. 'We are making terrible time ... but that's ok!' was the theme of the trip ;) We finally made it to Frontenac State Park just south of Redwing around 10pm. We set up camp and settled in for our first night of camping! We hadn't reserved a site but there were plenty open for the bargain price of $18.50 (if you reserve early you have to pay an additional reservation fee of $8.50). And, the state park was much cheaper than other private campgrounds in the area. It was a nice place!

Friday morning we got up and made some breakfast and walked around the campground before loading up and heading to the climbing site. Here's Summit just chillin'.

This was Grant's experiment after breakfast. There were tons of daddy long legs spiders (or are they really spiders?) walking around and Grant claimed they eat mosquitoes. So, he squashed a mosquito and put it in front of this spider and, sure enough, it ate it.

Brody had set up a slack line while the rest of us were still sleeping. Here's Grant trying it out!

My turn.

They had some nice grassy, dirt, and paved trails around the campground that we walked around on.

And then we were ready head to the next activity. Here's me, Brody and Grant packing up camp.

Redwing is a really cute town and has some great climbing. The last time we were there it was pretty busy but this time we were there on Friday morning so we had our pick of the climbs. Here's Grant, Brody, and Ang getting the climbing gear out. We had a lot of stuff with as you can see ;)

We hung out and climbed all afternoon. Here's Grant!

And Brody

And Me

And Ang belaying Me

And Ang

And Brody belaying Ang as Grant and Summit watch.

And everyone together!

Once we had our fill of climbing and lunch we packed up, grabbed some DQ and moved on to our next stop and next recreational activity: kayaking and canoeing the dam release at Jim's Falls, WI.

We had heard about a free (yes, FREE!) camping spot near Jim's Falls so hoped to be able to get it for the night. Luckily, no one else was in the spot so we took it! We actually weren't sure where the spot was but as we were setting up in the spot we had guessed it was, a guy walked through and said lots of people have camped there before so we decided we must be in the right place ;)

The site was great! Besides being free, there was also a picnic table to use, a campfire ring, it was right on the river so we could swim and use our water filter to get drinking water, we didn't have any neighbors except for the occasional fisher people who put their boats in at the launch next door, and there was even a vault toilet! We were camping in style :) We set up, went swimming, did some slacklining, had some supper and made a campfire for the evening! Here's me:

And Grant

And Ang roasting marshmallows.

Saturday morning we woke up and again got ready for the day with a 'big breakfast' of eggs (Ang had cracked them and froze them so they would stay fresh and pack well for the trip - brilliant!), fried potatoes, black beans and salsa. Mmm good! Then it was time for a day of paddling during the dam release. Ang and I shuttled Grant and Brody a couple times when they kayaked down.

Then Grant and I took the canoe down it (we portaged around the biggest set of rapids because we were chicken - or we just didn't want to tip over since we didn't have any float bags) and finally Grant and Brody paddled it in the canoe and even made it down all the rapids! Here they are!
When we were done paddling we went back to our free camping spot to repack the car since it turned into a disaster throughout the day and then we made some supper. Then, it was off to New Richmond, WI for a surprise birthday party for our friend Tony! We thought we were going to be late but when we arrived we called his wife, Joy, and she said 'they're almost here - hurry up!' So we parked down the street and sprinted (literally as soon as they car stopped we all jumped out and ran) to their house in time to yell 'SURPRISE!' hehe... it was a fun night (but apparently I didn't take any pictures)!

We set up our tent in Tony and Joy's backyard to continue our camping weekend. Sunday morning we got up and hung out at Tony's for awhile just visiting and catching up. Then, after making some rice pudding in their backyard (we had to pretend like we were still camping, of course) we packed up our tent and headed for our next destination: Taylor's Falls, MN to climb at Interstate State Park. It was really muggy all day but we set up a couple climbs and had a great, relaxing day. Here's Me belaying Ang:

Grant and Brody were leading the climbs and then set up top rope for us. Here they are:

And another group shot (taken by some random people from out east who were very insistent on taking our picture)!

Time flew by and suddenly it was after 4pm so, as it started to rain a little, we packed up and made the drive home after a super fun weekend!


  1. i just did some spider research. i think the bugs we call "daddy long legs" are actually "harvestmen". they are arachnids, but not spiders. i guess spiders have two body sections, but harvestmen only have one. also, most spiders have eight eyes, and harvestmen only have two. there are some other differences too. check out

  2. here's another link that shows actual pictures of the daddy long legs/harvestmen/etc.

    can i use html tags in here? i will try...

  3. ohhh good to know! they're not really spiders. huh.

  4. I love the Schnells and Johnsons! Some special young people in my life for sure! Ashley, once again, awesome job on the blog! Love ya!

  5. Just had to say one more thing about this blog...the best part is listening to you & Angie hoot & holler after Grant & Brody made it through the rapids with the canoe! LOL Nice pics too!

  6. Grant! It looks like you finally took off your high heels for the weekend! Glad to see the skirts came off for a weekend!

    - Lucas

    p.s. Your mother let me in on this blog thingy here! ;)

  7. That weekend was money in the bank! Grant


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