I started at Banning State Park and then headed south towards my campsite for the night at William O’Brien State Park. I have visited this wonderful Minnesota State Park many times and continue to find it an enjoyable park to hike, camp, kayak, and fly fish. Close to the Twin Cities and a short drive to one of my other favorite places Forest Lake this park is nestled along the St Croix River.
It has been a whirlwind few weeks. Vacation in the North part of The Netherlands to traveling in the USA.
My most recent journey started at the end of September as I flew into Minnesota from Amsterdam. I took one day to pack my car with all my camping gear and suitcases. Then started my 1975 mile round trip journey along the Great River Road.
Located on our route to our next cabin location was the Alde Feanen National Park. We had heard that it is a canoe paddle location with lots of opportunities.
For those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know, we like early morning or late evening canoe/kayak paddles for many reasons. This paddle however was only possible in route to our new location and so was going to be a mid day and hot (27C) paddle.
When we arrived we went to the visitor center to get the canoe route location. I am always amazed that people working these desks don’t have a clue about the water route locations or distances for paddlers. The route map was seriously the smallest map (in size) I have ever seen. I would need a magnifying glass to see the route. I took a picture of the only other map they had and it was under glass at the desk. The results were not great.
The visitor center has a nicer canoe launch.
Once on the water we saw we were not alone. Boats powered by motors and humans were sharing the water with huge barges and tour boats. It was crazy mix of busy water traffic.
This area of the country is where most of the natural ice skaters originate. We passed a very nice water statue tribute to that heritage.
We paddled for about an hour and never did find the actual 6km canoe route. After the paddle we saw that we would have to paddle down the busy shipping canal to access the route. This day was not the day for us. We plan to put this route on a future vacation plan.
We reloaded Cedar (with difficulty) on the car and headed to our next location Oudega, with another cabin on the water. But, that is for another blog.
©️ The Cedar Journal, 2019, all rights reserved.
Having a camping spot on the water makes it easier for enjoying a canoe paddle. We started our week with a short paddle of 4.5 km close to the camping. On the edge of the National Park Lauwersmeer we saw plenty of migrating birds.
Swans, white egrets, ducks of every sort and cormorants. We have spotted spoonbills and three black swans also.
The second paddle was on the West part of the Lauwersmeer from the small village of Oostmahorn. The wind made this a bit of a challenging paddle until we reached a protected island area. Not wanting to paddle back into the waves we headed inland to find a canal back to our start point. Only to end up at a old lock with no access to the canal on the other side. We returned the way we came. In the shallow water we saw some huge fish. I even saw a bass come straight out of the water vertically. This was a 6.5 km paddle.
©️ The Cedar Journal,2019, all rights reserved
I woke up early to have the hubby drive me to Rijpwetering. From there I rode my bike the last three kilometers to the campsite. I could celebrate some time on the water as the summer solstice approaches.
I wasn’t sure that we were going to paddle very far. In my mind, I wanted our first canoe paddle of the year to be more than just hitting the water. I was determined to do my best and if my back acted up we could always turn back to the camping.
By the end of the day, we experienced a sunrise and and sunset from our Cedar beauty on the lake.
After close to six weeks for me and about four weeks for the hubby of being away from our home we were happy to return early this week.