It’s a different world out there right now, sometimes recognizable and oftentimes completely the opposite.
I have been back at my people-facing job for about six weeks now, and things are definitely different. There’s a lot of confusion, a lot of hostility, and also a lot of compassion. My coworkers are checking in with each other more often, making sure everyone is doing alright. While some people are definitely more cruel, there is more kindness, too. Probably because those of us who deal with the public realize just how hard and draining it can be, and we don’t want to put that additional strain onto anyone else.
In spite of this, or perhaps because of this, our recent getaway was enjoyable. Our Year of Travel has certainly not lived up to its name, but we took the opportunity to head into the woods for a few days.
And let me tell you, not having cell service and being unable to read the news, check messages and emails, get buried in social media posts…man, that was a nice break. Total radio silence.
Except for the loons. And the mosquitoes and flies. But that’s Minnesota for you!
We headed up to a camping spot we’ve been to many times in the past, but we realized that it had been six years since our last trip. SIX YEARS! It was time.
So we loaded up two vehicles with far more stuff than anyone needs for a few days of camping, and hit the road.
This time, we took two wheelers and two kayaks, so we had even more with us.
The campground has two walk-in sites that are right on the water. But instead of walking in our gear, we boat it in. Two trips in the boat with all our crap and we’ve got it. We were crossing our fingers that we’d get both sites, and we were thrilled when nobody was there when we pulled up.
We got set up pretty quickly considering how much stuff we brought. We took over both sites so that the three dogs with us could run around and we wouldn’t have to worry about neighbors.
Here’s a dorky video I took of the sites while we were packing up to leave.
This was Teddy’s first camping trip, and he definitely seemed to enjoy it!
We went fishing, wheeling, swimming, and kayaking. And it was glorious.
The mosquitoes and flies were little terrorists, but I guess what else is new? In true Minnesota fashion, I complained about the insects until it got so beautiful that I forgot all about them.
During one of our kayak adventures, I spotted something in the water just ahead of me. As it came into focus, I tried to determine what it was. A fish? No. A prehistoric sea dragon? Maybe.
It turned out to be a gigantic snapping turtle swimming just beneath the surface. The water was so clear that I could see everything. It was amazing. I’ve never seen one that large in the water before.
As Andy and I rounded a bend into a quiet cove in our kayaks, something suddenly splashed between us. At first, we thought it was a fish. But then a loon popped up, and he seemed just as startled to see us as we were to see him.
Then he started yelling. And diving under the water. And popping back up and yelling again. We got out of there quickly, thinking it was just some weird fluke. But later that night when we were fishing in the boat in the same area, he started up with the same stuff again. We realized there was a nest nearby, and he was protecting it.
Again, we got out of there quickly so as not to disturb them.
The next day, I tried to go back to see the nest from the other side of the cove, thinking that if I stayed on the opposite side, I wouldn’t bother them. The wind kept pushing me closer to the center, until finally, a foot kicked up out of the water, and I knew I’d overstayed my welcome.
When I go out for photos, I try my hardest not to disturb the animals I’m photographing. I’m not one of those photographers who will do anything to get the shot — I’m not that committed and I’m not about to mess with the wildlife. That’s probably why nothing I ever shoot will be truly amazing, and I’m OK with that. It’s a hobby for me, just something that relaxes me.
Anywho, it was a great trip. I got in a lot of reading and a little writing, too.
And Andy found his hammock-tent.
I think we were all sad to leave — our ending came too quickly. We agreed that next time, we’ll have to stay an extra day.
But with enough bug bites to last me until winter, we hit the road for home.
I’m thankful that in this time of upheaval we were able to get away and take somewhat of a break. I’m thankful that Minnesota offers those kinds of refuges for us. And I’m thankful to be living where I am living during this pandemic. 2020 sure is a strange year…