found! not lost blog

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver

Family camp memories

At the end of September, our family ventured north six hours from Minneapolis to the town of Ely, Minnesota. We were on a pilgrimage with my mom and dad, sister, brother-in-law, and niece and nephew, to visit the family camp we frequented growing up, Camp du Nord, run by the YMCA. And yes, if you recall my pre-trip post, despite his fussing, dear husby did join in the fun.

And lucky he did, because it really was fun. There were beautiful fall colors, the weather was cool and crisp, but not yet cold, and the camp was just as we remembered it from 25 years ago!  We all stayed in one large cabin, pictured here:

20131019-210602.jpg{Our cozy cabin, Lunta Loft. We made good use of the fire pit each night}

The cabin was just rustic enough so you didn’t feel like you were in a hotel or your own home, but actually furnished enough and the kitchen fully equipped so that you weren’t really “roughing it”. Our only complaint was how hard the beds were — VERY — and we even brought an air mattress, but found it wasn’t much use as it had sprung a leak! (note to self: test next time before bringing an air mattress on a trip).

Our first evening we joined the other campers in the dining hall for a communal dinner of roast chicken. Afterwards we went back to our cabin to roast marshmallows at our fire pit and make s’mores. Then, in the mornings the camp has kid age group activities, the four kids went off to play games, wander the campgrounds, and learn about nature. During this time, we were free to relax at the cabin, explore the campgrounds, and hike the surrounding trails. It was perfect! Then, we picked the kids up and made lunch at our cabin, and continued exploring as families.

For our activity, we went with our girls to do “family team building”.  Yes, you heard right, I said “team building”. When my husband suggested this, we all laughed because we totally thought he was being sarcastic. I stopped laughing when I realized he actually meant it -and that it likely involved some sort of ropes course or trust falls with each other! My parents and sister and her family opted out and hiked instead. Well, I shouldn’t have been such a negative Nellie, because while it did involve some ropes/obstacle course type games, it turned out to be the kind of silly fun that the girls like and seeing their mom and dad make fools of themselves is always a highlight. 🙂

In sum, the trip was relaxing and recharging. It was great just getting away from the city and having lots of quiet time as a family, without TV, very limited cell service, and no place to be and nothing we had to do. And what better place to do that then the wonderful Camp du Nord.  I highly recommend this as a great way to get your family out in nature without actually having to pitch a tent. (Though, if tents are your thing, they do have platform tents too that are cool…and you can use the bath house which is clean and close by). The campgrounds are as pristine as ever (see more pics below) thanks to careful stewardship from the YMCA and the community of campers who return year after year, generation after generation to this memorable spot up north. I hope our families will find time to get back up there again, these extended family are always a lot of fun and I think our kids are expecting it!

20131019-210711.jpg{Camp du Nord is on Burntside Lake, a beautiful, clear lake}

20131019-210806.jpg{Top: View of the lake from the Finnish sauna on its shores. Bottom: clearest waters ever!}

20131019-210735.jpg{Our youngest daughter got so excited about the variety of mushrooms, it became a hunt!}

20131019-210827.jpg{The most vibrant colors you could imagine, my pics don’t do it justice!}

20131019-210851.jpg{Sights from our hike up to Old Baldy, a bluff above the camp}


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This entry was posted on October 22, 2013 by in adventures, kids/family and tagged , , , , , .
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