The heat and humidity have made it hard to sleep this summer, so what better way to relax than head to Itasca State Park for the weekend. Lake Itasca is the source of the Mississippi River. There's a lot to do there.
We pitched our tent at Bear Paw Campground and, I'm happy to say, didn't actually 'see' any bear paws other than the engraved ones on the sign! There was, however, a skunk who found his way into the campground the first night. Our food was safely stored in the trunk of the car, so we were bypassed, thankfully.
On Saturday we went to the Mississippi headwaters. I'm sure I've been there at least a dozen times over the years, and I've never seen the water as deep as it was this time. They've had a LOT of rain this summer; one ranger told me they'd had around 14 inches - just in July! We waded across, none-the-less, and the girls enjoyed cooling off, although the congestion was a bit too much for Dee Dee. She was happy to head back to the car and move along to the next spot - which was a stroll along Mary Lake and the Red Pine Trail. My eyes were peeled for glimpses of the Minnesota State flower, the showy lady slipper, and I wasn't disappointed.
It was a hot day, so in the afternoon we took a drive to Lake George and on to Walker, which is one of my three favorite Minnesota resort towns (along with Grand Marais and Lanesboro). Leech Lake is a much prettier lake than its name would make it sound (I have yet to actually see a leech there), and the public beach on Walker Bay is just wonderful. We had a great time cooling off there. When it was time to leave, Dee Dee put up a fuss. As soon as she realized we were walking toward the car, she stopped in her tracks and looked at me with pleading eyes: "Please, Mom, just a little bit longer ..." I gave in - three times, in fact - before I decided that we really did need to leave! In the evening, I went to a show at Jaspers Jubilee Theatre in Park Rapids. By that time, the girls were worn out and happy to nap in the car. I got this picture of them sharing the shady side of the back seat. Dee Dee woke up when I slowed to take the picture, but they had been lying almost on top of each other, sound asleep.