June 2024 – Camping in Itasca State Park

Jun 30 2024
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June 2024 – Over the last decade I’ve gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway. I’d put up my little tent, fill the air mattress, make my bed (I even have sheets!) and settle in to my little home away from home. Friends thought I was nuts going out there alone but also conceded that it was very much so a thing I would totally do and they didn’t need to worry about me. I loved every minute of it and always looked forward to my couple of days totally disconnected.

When I say we’re going camping I think people imagine that we’re roughing it a lot more than we actually are… We watched several movies by the fire and both had power cores to charge all of our electronics… and we’re certainly not sleeping on the ground or blowing up the air mattress manually lol.

Lodi and I got married out there two years ago now so it only seemed right that we spent our first (and now our second) year anniversaries out at the park.

I packed up my car and headed out to set up camp Saturday before Lodi got home from work. (He had already driven all night so I wanted him to not have to rush, to just be able to show up and relax.)

Not that there is a whole ton to “set up” with our camp site – our tent literally pops up in about 60 seconds.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

I always have two bins packed with all of the essentials and ready to go. Every year, after getting home, I clean them out and repack them for next year so all I have to do is throw them in the car.

After that its a cooler with food, drinks, chairs and bedding.

Lodi joked one year that my favorite thing about camping was the food and he might not be wrong! There’s nothing like highlander grog coffee and bacon cooked over an open fire.

I call it my “campfire coffee” because the addition of hot cocoa mix, a marshmallow and a shot of peppermint schnapps makes it pretty much a cup of heaven.

After set up this year I got a fire going and settled in with my book while I waited for Lodi.

It wasn’t long though before I was forced into the tent as a torrential down pour landed on me. I was like the kid in the NeverEnding story, book in my lap, blanket over my head, valiantly ignoring the storm outside.

It was then that I discovered our air mattress had a major leak…

Lodi to the rescue.

He picked up an air mattress when he came out later when the storm had passed and I’d managed to get the fire going again.

Two things I found out in Itasca this June 2024. I absolutely love camping… But three nights is a bit much in a tent.

The first night / morning Lodi and I woke up to all of (maybe) forty degrees outside.

June 2024, we were absolutely frozen.

We ran back out to the farm for more blankets and hot showers before settling back into our campsite later.

The wind never stopped the whole time we were out there so, even though the days were sunny and warm, none of them made us want to be out exploring much and certainly not out on a lake.

We also got hit by yet another tremendous storm that lasted nearly all night our last night there.

I’m very proud of my old little tent – she kept us dry!

I gave myself a big pat on the back during that storm as I had already packed up pretty much everything knowing we would be leaving in the morning.

I do that mostly anyway because the wildlife out here all know how to open bins and coolers… ask me how I know.

This was the first year I ever remember seeing warning signs about bears being active though it didn’t surprise me as my mom had one on her front porch the week before we went camping and we’re only 30 miles from the park.

It did surprise me though when one came by the last morning! I would have expected him to come through at night but with the storms I guess he waited for better weather to do his rounds…

Those pictures of him I took with my phone (no zoom) just sitting on the edge of our bed… a bit close for comfort lol.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

As expected every night around dark the racoons made their own rounds.

One came up to the fire, looked up at us with her big eyes, her little hands up in the air pleading with us as she was so clearly starving. (She was so clearly NOT starving and was actually one of the biggest racoons I have ever seen…)

Of course we did NOT share our graham crackers or marshmallows… we would NEVER do such a thing…

…OF COURSE we did such a thing… we’re horrible people.

Other wildlife spotted was the tiniest fawn and her beautiful mama as well as a cute porcupine on the side of the road… they really are just the sloths of north country.

Lodi saw a black bear and her cub when he drove in. We heard countless loons through the nights, saw lots of swans and also a couple of sandhill cranes. (I always forget how big those cranes are, they’re nearly as tall as I am! And they sound like velociraptors, imagining what a velociraptor might sound like lol.)

Not to mention the whole park was covered in yellow lady slippers!

One benefit to the weather being so cold in the evening was that the bugs were almost nonexistent.

Usually its a constant fight against mosquitoes!

I always put the rain cover on our tent immediately when we put it up for a few reasons.

First, obviously, no one wants to be putting it on in the rain. Second, the dew in the mornings can get really bad on the inside so you end up getting really damp without it.

And, thirdly, its a perfect platform to absolutely cover with bug spray. That’s a camping tip I share with everyone. It really helps keep the bugs down without that nastiness being on our skin, our clothes or in the tent etc.

Speaking about our little tent I’m certainly going to keep her but we will either be getting a bigger tent or maybe renting a little cabin in the future next year.

For just me that tent is perfect but I totally understand Lodi actually wanting a space to be able to, ya know, stand up and get dressed lol!

June 2024, we had a lovely time but returning home (four walls, a roof and climate control) is always a bit of a relief.

June 2024 - Over the last decade I've gotten out to Itasca State Park camping nearly every year. It was always just my favorite getaway.

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