Monday, June 27, 2011

Great River Bluffs State Park

For the first time in I don't know how long, we managed to go on a camping trip that wasn't cursed with downpours. It was glorious. We had a bit of drizzle on Saturday, but the rest of the time the weather was pretty close to perfect. We enjoyed the peaceful and small campground at Great River Bluffs State Park in southeastern Minnesota. The vistas from this park are spectacular for a non-mountainous state.

The hiking wasn't challenging, but it went through an amazing amount of different scenery for such a short distance. We covered nearly all of the trails and all but one overlook during our stay. I was especially taken with these trees that looked like they were straight out of a Tim Burton movie. I think they are Bur Oaks, but I am not sure of that.

Due to the absence of rain, we actually got to cook all of the meals we had planned. We enjoyed this foil packet meal of curried potatoes, cauliflower, peas and onions that were cooked over the fire. We served it with brown rice. Yum! We also ate red beans and rice with grilled bananas (the co-op was out of plantains) and avocado for our other dinner. Steel cut oats with strawberry sauce and veggie frittata with goat cheese were cooked for breakfasts. And, we had lovely picnic lunches with cabbage salad, potato salad, cheese, crackers and fruit.

There were many of areas at the park that are undergoing prairie restoration. They were host to a ton of beautiful wildflowers.

The biggest hike we took involved a mid-point picnic atop King's Bluff. It was a gorgeous place with Queen's Bluff in the foreground and the Mississippi River flowing below us on both sides.

There were two sad parts to this trip. You might notice, we normally have one more dog. Jack has shown us over the last year that he isn't up for camping and hiking anymore. He toughed it out last year, but we knew it was going to be too much for him this year. Luckily, my dad was able to take him in for the weekend and was able to cater to his separation anxiety by remaining in Jack's site almost the whole time.

The other sad part was that we had to say goodbye to Paul's trusty camping hat. It was falling to pieces and got left behind at the campground dumpster.

Those two losses aside, it was a great weekend. It was the most relaxed I have felt in a long time. Plus, in order to get Jack from my dad's house in Wisconsin we had a long drive from SE MN to NW Wisconsin. Since we missed a turn right at the start, we deviated from our Google directions. I navigated us through the smaller county and state roads for the 4+ hour drive. I now have a much better mental map of those parts of the country!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Trinity! I was logged in as my husband - sorry about the weird deleted comment. I wanted to tell you that Great River Blufss is my favorite state park! I love the views, too - very Sound of Music - and in the late summer, there are raspberries all over the park - even in the campsites. :)

  3. Trinity, these pics are great and, of course, your camping food even sounds delectable. Still can't get over that Paul will now look at camera and smile for photos! He's been doing this for far too long now. :)

    Your post makes me want to go there. We got a state park sticker for our car this summer, so we really need to make it out to places, although our weekends are so booked now that when we are home, we want to enjoy Minneapolis.

  4. Looks like an awesome camping trip. I've never been to that park, and it's great to get your preview. And your camping cooking ALMOST inspires me to consider camping myself :)

  5. We can't wait to discover upper Mississippi this summer, thank you for putting us in the mood!
    I was intrigued by your camping menu, it all looks and sounds so yummy, where is the coop around there?

    1. I am glad you are headed to the area. It is a gorgeous part of that state. The coop I referred to is actually our local one in Minneapolis. We purchased and packed all of our food from home. Happy camping!


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