34th Bday Adventuring

34th Bday Adventuring

Crow Wing State Park, MN

Crow Wing State Park, MN

 We always camp for my birthday. I look forward to it every year. My birthday is in October and with our new baby we decided that camping may not work out this year. Even though camping was off the table, I still wanted an outdoor adventure for my birthday.  We needed to break away from Fargo/Moorhead for a bit. We were looking for a spot with variety and good fall colors. We decided to head to central MN.  We booked a few nights at Ruttgers Bay Lake Lodge just outside of Brainerd, MN. We knew nothing about this place but it looked alright and we were able to afford it. This area has tons of lakes and soooo many trees. The fall colors were at their peak and the weather was warm enough to be out and about with our little Lova. The room was modest but huge. We had a little balcony and were right across from a lake. It felt so great to be surrounded by nature again ( we miss the mountains and the plains were starting to drive us crazy!). The air was fresher. The sun felt so wonderful. We made LOTS of food ahead of time and had plenty of delicious snacks to fuel our adventure. Our mini fridge was full of lamb curry, olive tapenade, hummus, veggies, and plenty of dark chocolate and fresh fruit. It was great. We also had plenty of good dark beer ( I'm talking a beer or two here and there...not getting drunk with our little one so don't judge!). 

 

View from the shore at Rutgers Bay Lake Lodge

View from the shore at Rutgers Bay Lake Lodge

We were super excited to check out the Cuyuna Lakes Recreation area. This area is a mountain bikers paradise. This recreational area is split up into a few different chunks. Each offering a little something different. We didn't have our bikes since we had Lova but were able to do a little hiking. There were a lot of people out biking that day and it made us feel a little anxious. We love to mountain bike and know that it can be a little annoying to have to bike around people or slow down. We didn't want to crash anyone's party. We also didn't really want to be around lots of people. We decided to head out and go to Crow Wing State Park.   What an opposite area. There were virtually no other people and it was much more peaceful for the kind of hike we were looking for. Our goal was to get away after all. The trail we took followed along the river with parts heading up into the trees. I wouldn't spend a ton of time at this park but it was a great quiet spot to enjoy some much need family time in the woods. We also spotted some bear scat on the trail!

 

 

Crow Wing State Park, MN. The Overlook from the trail. 

Crow Wing State Park, MN. The Overlook from the trail. 

The following day we packed up and headed to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park. This place is a cross country skiers dream. Lots of fun hills, variety, and plenty of different experience levels. The colors in this park were outstanding. A great place for bird watching as well. After we enjoyed hiking around the park we took some time to check out Lake Mille Lacs. I had no idea how massive this lake was. This journey provided us with a much need change of scenery from the flat plains of Fargo/Moorhead. We spent the evening eating lamb curry and enjoying just being together as a family. I LOVE these moments of tired and bliss. Tired from our hike and so blissful that we are all together. The fresh air put Lova to bed with ease. I stayed up and had a glass of red wine. All was good. 

 

 

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Fall beauty at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Fall beauty at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Lova loved Mille Lacs Kathio State Park as much as we did!

Lova loved Mille Lacs Kathio State Park as much as we did!

The next morning the sun was shining and it was another beautiful fall day. The blue sky against the bright orange and yellow leaves made for a breathtaking site. We were so thankful for our time spent at Rutggers Bay Lake Lodge as well as the state parks and recreation areas we visited. We were not too excited to head back to the plains but it was refreshing to know this beautiful area is within a couple hours from out new home. Another birthday success. 

Cuyuna Lakes Recreation Area. Look at those amazing colors!

Cuyuna Lakes Recreation Area. Look at those amazing colors!

Mychal Lynn