Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A camping gem and our first treasure hunt

This labor day weekend, we went through with our 3-night camping plan in spite of the storm forecast. We headed to REI to get our rain gears, baked some trail mix cookies, and off we went!

While we don't remember why we chose to camp at Bear Head Lake State Park up in the Northwoods, we were blown away by its beauty when we got there. The campsite was surrounded by pines, and birch and aspen treens, and the hikes around the placid lakes were kid-friendly and so serene. The lakes (there were plenty!) shone like emeralds, and mushrooms of different sizes and shapes decorated the widely coniferous flora. To say that the 4 hour drive was worth it is an understatement.

Do I get points for these?
We didn't see bears, wolves or moose (thankfully?), but we did see and hear some eagles, slugs, and other little critters. Blue jays, woodpeckers and crows woke us up with their melodious singing. The fishing program was a success too! 

A family of chipmunks
were our constant visitors
One of about 4 caterpillars who
seeked shelter during the storm

How to teach your kids patience...

2 hours later, they caught the tiniest fish on the lake!

Geocaching 101:

I've always wanted to try geocaching as a fun addition to a hiking activity ever since I learned about it from our friend (Hi Ben!). But for some reason, my network connection is very limited at places we go to, or the idea of bushwacking with the kids was just not appealing.  Well, we decided to give it a try this time because the park had its own GPS for geocaching and we were told it didn't involve bushwacking (or at least only a few feet of it).

For those unfamiliar, geocaching is kind of a high-tech treasure hunt. The locations can vary - from park to a street in city to, apparently, even underwater. You're provided with coordinates to the treasure. For us, the park provided these. You enter the coordinates in the GPS device to navigate and find the geocache (a.k.a "treasure chest"). The device is accurate to about ~20 feet, then you're left on your own to look for it. When the geocache is found, you'll find treasure ans a logbook. You sign the logbook and take out the treasure and replace it with a new one for someone else to find... or you can just leave the treasure behind too. If you want to learn about the history of how all of this started, you can read it here.

When we did our hunt, we looked everywhere, under moss and cobwebs (eew!) but guess who found it? The most curious one of us four!  What a great outdoor activity for kids! And the kids were absolutely thrilled to find toys in the cache. They were only allowed to take 1 each.  We left a treasure from mommy, of course.

Some more pictures from our wonderful camping weekend!

He plays; she sings while staring at the stars.
Perfect place to enjoy play-doh while the chefs are cooking dinner

What's for dinner? Drool-worthy roasted corn and grilled hotdog!
And roasted marshmallows for dessert!
Enjoying the water for the last bit of summer left


And found the first sign of autumn


  1. Looks like an awesome trip! Glad you guys got some geocaching time and it was successful - they can be really tricky, but there's nothing like the joy of finding a cache you've been searching for.

    And who knew Eric played the guitar? Oh, and I love the play-doh.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. We actually hiked to a second cache the following day and didn't find it. I think I was the one most disappointed. It was still an awesome hike though!

      Oh, and Eric plays the banjo too! :)