Canoe Trip 
On Sunday Mom, Papa, Joe and me went for a trip down the Cloquet River in a canoe. The beginning was a little rough with rocks, but not terrible. During the trip we saw quite a few Bald Eagles, some immature and some adult. We also saw Great Blue Herons, lots of Belted Kingfishers, mergansers, flycatchers, mallards and even an Osprey and its young. We were almost to the car we had parked at the car (about 3 hours after we started) when we ran into a spot that was a bit too rocky. We tried an alternative route, but still ran into rocks. We tried getting through it, but kept hitting rocks and getting stuck. Eventually Joe and Papa got out to help maneuver the canoe. Of course Papa was in tennies and jeans, so he was soaked.
Once we got back to the car the mosquitoes were so insanely bad we had to run into the car, drive back to the beginning to get Mom and Papa's car, drive back and get the canoe on their car as fast as possible before getting eaten alive.

Great Blue Heron taking off.

Mom and Papa. A dragonfly decided to hitch a ride on Mom's hat.

Adult Bald Eagle

Deer that was down taking a drink.

Great Blue Heron

Osprey and young.

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Early End 
We've actually been back since Monday, but the trip was quite a bit shorter than we originally thought it would be. The bugs were just too bad. We found we were mostly hanging out in the RV since we couldn't enjoy the outdoors much.

Anyway, Eighteen Lakes was a nice, free campground. Joe and I went swimming a little to cool off. There was a red squirrel that kept jumping up on the bikes and looking in the window, which would then make the cats freak out. It was pretty funny. We stayed there just one night. On Sunday we drove around a little bit, exploring the area. We found a nice spot off the main, dirt road to let the cats out. From there we walked farther down to see if there was anything, but it was too buggy and there didn't seem to be anything of interest. Once it cooled down a little, we took the bikes out and checked out any of the side roads that we had passed but hadn't gone down. One ended at a lake that is under management for wild rice.

That evening, we headed out to do some moose hunting. We didn't see any, and right before Finland, we found a spot to sleep for the night. The next morning, we headed down the North Shore and back home.


Lucy checking out the squirrel.

Curly was pretty toasty during our walk. He would pause in the shade once in a while and pant.

The lake where wild rice was growing.

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Mini RV Trip 
We decided to go on a short RV trip just around some of the national forest in northern MN. We had never really taken much time to explore the area or the lakes all that much, and now seemed like as good a time as any.

We left yesterday, late afternoon. We checked out one place along our trip. Got out and walked. Curly even came with us. He kept up really, really well. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes and deer flies were so bad that even walking with our rain jackets on (hoods up) we couldn't stop for even a second and were still getting bombarded on our faces. There was lake access at the end that even had a loon swimming and calling on it, but even if the bugs hadn't been that bad, we probably couldn't have gotten the RV down there. It was just too wet and filled with pot holes.

We ended up staying at a very small, free campground on Sand Lake. It was a pretty area. The bugs weren't terrible there.

The next morning, we headed out and continued on our way since there was no cell service (meaning no internet). We checked out another road. Parked, then walked down it, taking Curly with. Again, the bugs were just awful. It was a little tougher for Curly, I believe because it was sunny and warmer, so he was getting hot. He still did really well keeping up with us.

We checked out a few more places, but ended up staying at Eighteen Lakes campground. It's another free one with only a few sites. There's a trail that goes around the lake and the water temp seems decent that we may still go swimming. So far the only excitement was a red squirrel running on top of the bikes in the back, right along the window. It even stopped to look in. That got the cats pretty excited.


Joe looking out over Sand Lake.

Our walk today. Curly got a ride for some of it since he seemed pretty pooped.

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Adventure Days 
Since we've been back, we've been working, going to the gym and working on the house. Since it's started warming up, we decided to have at least one day a week be an "adventure day". Since our legs were pretty sore from Wed's workout, we decided to have an adventure day today.

We biked to the nearby Canosia Township Wildlife Sanctuary. While there, we spotted three Baltimore Orioles fly overhead. This was very neat since I don't think I've ever seen one in the wild. They're not too commonly spotted. At least where I go.

We biked along and at a spot where it's just the "road" (more like ATV/snowmobile trail) between two bodies of water, we surprised a Snapping Turtle crossing, to go into the water.

We stopped part way to take a break and eat the apples we brought with. While there, we heard a bird close by. Once I found it, it turned out to be a Chestnut-sided Warbler. We continued on our way, working our way around two muddy lakes in the trail, to come out on a dirt road. While biking on that road, I heard another Warbler close to the road, so stopped, and was able to get some better photos since it was closer.

The bike ride back to the house was tough. It was against the wind in the blazing sun. All in all, it was a 3 hour, 16 mile bike ride. Joe's pretty tired, not only because of the bike ride, but because of the sun. Definitely a fun day.


Woke up to find a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at the suet feeder. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The Snapping Turtle. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

A female Mallard landing. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Chestnut-sided Warbler. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

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Back Home 
On Wednesday we headed north to Playa Del Carmen. The next morning, we hopped on a bus to the airport and flew home. So, back to work and finishing getting the house set up, painted, etc. Now that the snow is gone we'll get to do some yard work and decide on a bird feeder set up, which will be fun. We have quite a few birds here so far. As it warms up we'll hopefully get to see some of the warblers that pass through.

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