Minnesota started heating up last week and adventure was mandatory. Backpacks loaded, food acquired, alarms set. On April 14th Jon and I hit the road to hit the trail. Our first backpacking trip of the hot season was underfoot and our destination: The North Country Trail. It's a really great backpacking trail that you should check out- it begins in New York and ends in North Dakota, approximately 4,600 miles. For this trip we decided to pack along the Hilleberg tent, because we weren't super sure on the conditions we'd be in or if it would actually get as hot outside as the forecast said. Spoiler: it hit 80. Almost 10 degrees higher than expected!
The wildlife on this trip was exciting. On the drive up we saw more bald eagles than I can remember and countless hawks. The birds sang us songs almost 24/7. We spotted a few deer and even some beavers! I think my excitement level over the beaver sightings may have been a little outrageous. But... they're so cute!
"We now no longer camp as for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven." -Henry David Thoreau
The water levels were very high, thanks to snow melt and some very busy beavers. It was stunning and a little bit surreal.
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature's sources never fail." -John Muir
Where we chose to set up the tent was on top of a small hill, surrounded by trees. On either side we had gorgeous views. Views that looked more like paintings than real life.
It is an amazing thing to be in love with your partner in adventure. Both of us are very much aware of how lucky we are. It makes the hard parts of living outside easier and the fun parts incredibly rewarding.
This area was much more picturesque than I imagined it would be. So much so that in two days I snapped over 400 photos. So I am rolling out slideshows. Be sure to flip through them, because each slide is unique and lovely and special. Most of these are taken right around our camping spot, another reason we chose that location. Try to spot the many birds and dams in the photos.
We did not bring water along. Instead we filtered our own and boiled when we got lazy. I always am very excited to taste the wild water wherever we go. Each location tastes different and that's pretty cool!
"I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright." -Henry David Thoreau
The above photo may be my favorite picture I've ever taken. It perfectly captures the moment. It captures the stillness and beauty of Minnesota. It is peace.
Our backyard above and front yard below :)
On Friday morning I woke up with the sun... and this amazing beaver! Never in my life have I witnessed a more magical sunrise. This guy and I had an experience together for about 10 minutes. The thing I most wanted during this camp was to see one, and this was the setting for it. Unreal. I watched him swim around for a while until he disappeared into his dam. I feel so very lucky to have experienced this.
Blessed with another beaver sighting on the hike out!
Jon had never been to see Paul and Babe in Bemidji and he had never been to the Mississippi Headwaters in Itasca. So seeing as we were kind of in the area, we went to both. First Bemidji and then to Itasca, where we had a picnic at the start of our great river. Cross those off of Jon's Minnesota Bucket List! The silliest and most romantic way to end a very much needed getaway :)
"There is no glory in star or blossom till looked upon by a loving eye; There is no fragrance in April breezes till breathed with joy as they wander by." -William C. Bryant