Joe was already down in the Yucatan with his mother, but my parents and I headed down on Thursday to join him. Mary headed home that same day. We arrived in the evening to rain. Joe had rented a car and met us there without a problem.

The drive to Tulum from there was pretty stressful. Joe hadn't driven too much in Mexico yet and having a rental was a bit stressful, but it worked out fine. Mexico has topes (speedbumps) all over the place. Most are marked, but some aren't and can ruin your car if you go over them too quickly.

That evening we ate dinner at El Vegetariano, which was a very good, completely vegetarian restaurant. From there we headed to the hotel and basically crashed.

On Friday, Joe and I basically ditched Mom and Papa most of the day. We dropped them off that the Tulum ruins (we did them last time we were down there together). We picked them up a few hours later and found lunch. After lunch we decided to have them check out the Gran Cenote. Again, some place we had already been (and it was a bit pricey to go a second time), so we dropped them off. We went a little farther down the road to the Car Wash Cenote. It was basically a jungle pond with a few underwater caves. The water was clear, but the trees went right up to the edge with the roots growing in. It was a bit creepy looking. The dark caves underwater didn't help. It was still a refreshing swim though. There was a group of divers there heading in to the caves. That was neat to watch them head in.

We picked up Mom and Papa (they seemed to really enjoy the Gran Cenote) and we headed out of town. That night we found a place in Bacalar to stay the night. It took a bit of searching, but we eventually found something that worked out.


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Apostle Islands Ice Caves 
On Wednesday Mom, Papa, Joe and I all drove out past Cornucopia and went to the ice caves. It's been a number of years since the ice was safe enough to walk on to be able to see them. We did this back when we lived near Port Wing and it was neat then. This year it has apparently been even more popular than ever. My guess is partly because of the large span of time since you could visit them. My other guess is that social media is so much more prevalent now. The number of photos I've seen on facebook of people that have gone there is pretty impressive.
Anyway, here is just a small selection of my photos. I mostly chose the ones with people in them. I'm posting a few on the Deviant Art page, so you can check out some more there if you're interested. (

There were quite a few people there, even though it was a weekday. Temp-wise it wasn't bad. The wind was a little bad at times, but not terrible. We picked a pretty great day to go.


Joe going to check out a cave.

Some very neat ice.

Mom and Papa.

Mom on the lake with me inside the cave.

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Mini RV Trip 
On Sunday Joe decided we should head out in the RV and go to northern MN. We packed up and left. Our first stop was Eighteen Lake, which is a campground that we already knew was free and where we had internet.

On Monday morning I woke up relatively early so decided to walk the trail that goes around the lake, which is supposedly around 2.5 miles (I think it's a bit longer). My hope was to see some birds and get some photos. Unfortunately, the bugs were really awful and the trail was pretty overgrown on the edges, meaning my legs were completely soaked by the time I was done from brushing up on grass and ferns. I took a couple photos of the loon that was on the lake, but that was the only stopping I did because I would get eaten alive by mosquitoes.

We headed out that day to do some more exploring. We did find a spot where we could let the cats out for a bit. It happened to have a ton of blueberries. We picked quite a few. We got to have blueberry pancakes for dinner that night. After rounding up the cats, we headed back out. One of the roads we were planning on taking ended up being a skinny road! Grass down the center and just wide enough for us. There were some sketchy parts, but we were able to make it the whole way. Since we had found blueberries, Joe really wanted raspberries to mix with them and make a jam. There were tons of plants along one section and the road. I could see how many mosquitoes were out there, so I refused to try picking them, but Joe went anyway. They were so terrible and he barely got any berries. It was pretty sad.

Once we got to the end of that road, we were very near Clara Lake which has a free campground. We stayed there for the night. We left in the morning and found a sand pit to let the kitties out again. Along one of the edges of the pit there were tons of raspberry plants, so Joe got his raspberries. From there we headed down Honeymoon Trail to check out the campgrounds. The first one we saw was a nice one, but no internet, so we decided to move on. The next was just a mile down the road. That one was by a river and we had internet! We tried going on a walk down a gated road very nearby but had to quit after just a half mile because the mosquitoes were really, really bad. We even had bug nets on our heads and I was still being eaten alive through my shirt. The next morning, the only person there was at the very first site (we were at the last one) so we let the cats out before breakfast. Once we got them all in we headed down to Lutsen to meet up with our friend Sarah who had the day off that day. Our plan was to hike up Eagle Mountain.

Once Sarah arrived we drove up to Eagle Mountain for 6 mile hike. Surprisingly, the bugs weren't bad, which made the hike pretty enjoyable. On the way back down, Sarah went for a swim across the lake. We met her on the other side. After the hike, we headed into Grand Marais for dinner. The restaurants were all pretty packed, so it took a while before we got food, but we ate at the Gun Flint Tavern and the food was super good.

Sarah headed home after dropping us off at the RV and we drove down 61 a bit until we found a spot not far off the highway that we could park to sleep. Thursday morning we headed back home. All in all, a pretty decent week.


The loon on Eighteen Lake.

Joe blueberry picking.

Joe raspberry picking with the kitties hanging out with him. Can you spot the three? (click photo for larger image)

Coming back from our walk down the crazy buggy road. Curly did really well following us.

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Eventful Fourth 
Mom mentioned to me that she wanted to do something for the Fourth. Maybe a canoe trip? Joe decided we should maybe check out the next section of the Cloquet River. Last year we canoed from Island Lake down to Munger Shaw Rd. So, this time we went from Munger Shaw Rd to 53.

The trip started out great. The temp was perfect even if it was a bit windy. Eventually, we did run into some rapids. For the most part, they went all right. There ended up being one chunk that was bad enough that Joe had to jump out because we got stuck on a rock. After quite a bit of maneuvering, we were able to work our way further down the river.

There were far more rapids than any of us were all that comfortable with, but we were getting closer to the end and didn't have another problem. Then, there were more rapids coming up that looked like big rocks right across our path. Basically no way through. We tried anyway and Joe ended up having to jump out again when we hit a rock and got stuck. Papa then got out also, unfortunately, when he was trying to put the paddle in the canoe, he missed and it went floating down the river. Joe and papa walked it down until the water got too deep. Then they gave the one paddle to me to get through that section of rapids and they both hopped in. We made it through fine, but ended up seeing yet another section of rapids ahead of us before a landing that we could see that must be near the highway. Since we didn't have another paddle, we ended up heading to shore. Mom and I hopped out and walked through the woods to the road/landing. The rest of the way to the landing looked like it was clear of rocks, but by this time the bottom of the canoe had quite a bit of water in it and I didn't want to risk my camera getting wet.

Joe and Papa continued to the landing without incident. Joe then jogged the short distance to the car. Mom and I came out on the road not far away and we loaded up the canoe to then drive and get their car at the beginning of the river. The entire trip was almost 10 miles and we did it in about 3 hours. We didn't end up seeing any fireworks that night since we were all pretty worn out and wet.


A raptor we saw perched along the river.

A Great Blue Heron hanging out on the top of a pine tree.

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Peregrine Watch 
I just started a new job today! It's only for a few weeks but it's already been a lot of fun and very educational. I'm working for Hawk Ridge, showing people the Peregrine Falcons that nest on the Greysolon Plaza building. Today we helped get the three chicks banded. The parents were not at all happy. The mother was dive bombing the person that was getting the chicks quite a bit. Once they were banded, they were put back and we left, making the parents much happier.

We haven't been doing much traveling, but I thought I would put up something, especially since I got some photos.


The baby getting banded.

I got to hold one!

The mother was not at all happy.

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