Short Canoe Trip 
It's been a bit since we went on this canoe trip but I was terrible at getting the photos uploaded. Anyway, Joe, Mary, Teddy and I went to the Canosia Wildlife Reserve with a canoe. When the gate is open, you can drive down near the water, which is what we did to put the canoe in. Teddy did very well sitting in the canoe. We saw more wildlife during that short canoe trip than I think Joe and I have seen on all our other canoe trips we took this summer. This was most likely the last canoe trip of the season since it's getting pretty chilly now.

Teddy in the canoe.

A juvenile Northern Harrier.

Sandhill Cranes taking flight.

Lesser Yellowlegs. I let us get pretty close, then later when it took off it flew around us quite a bit, which we pretty surprising for Teddy.

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This past weekend we headed off to Chicago. We really didn't want to drive, which is why we took the train. It was approximately the same amount of time as driving. The train ride was comfortable. We arrived a couple hours late, but that wasn't a big deal for us. The hotel we were staying at was about a mile away, making the walk not too bad.
The next day, we headed to the Field Museum. We enjoyed the exhibits quite a bit. We were there for 6 hours. Unfortunately, by the end, we were getting information overload. That would be a great place to visit frequently to absorb certain areas instead of trying to take in the whole thing.
That evening we took the train to the area near Wrigley Field. I had a show at the Underground Lounge I wanted to see. It was a great show. Unfortunately, the area around us was basically all bars. When we needed to waste some time because we were there too early, it made it a little tough since we don't exactly like the bar scene. :)
The next day, we headed to the Shedd Aquarium. It was neat, but I sort of wish we had gone to the Planetarium or the Science Museum instead. It was still neat though. From there we took the train to Tinley Park and walked to our hotel there. We headed to the Kelly Clarkson/The Fray concert via taxi. The show was enjoyable. I had decent seats in the 7th row off of center. We left a little early, about 45 minutes into The Fray's set so we could miss the rush. We walked the 2 miles back to the hotel.
The next morning, we headed back to the train and back into downtown Chicago. The train back home was on time, which was nice since we wouldn't be getting back until after 10 as it was. All in all, it was a fun trip. I wish we had a few more days to go to the Brookfield Zoo, the Planetarium and the Science Museum, but I guess that's for another time.


A neat gemstone in the Field Museum.

Purty jelly fish.

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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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