About a 25 minute drive west of Grand Rapids, MN, Schoolcraft State Park is a less-often visited park that makes up for its lack of hiking trails and in-park amenities with cozy, quiet charm.
The park does not have a visitor center, but it does have a small shelter near the entrance of the park which houses a box with maps and self-registration envelopes. It also has bundles of wood for $6.
We are visiting during Labor Day weekend and there are still sites available. I think next time we visit this park we will skip the $7 online registration fee and just take whatever site is available because this campground just doesn’t fill up.
There is one hiking loop around the entirety of the park that very easy, but it is a beautiful walk through peaceful red pine forest.
The campsites are semi-wooded and private with fire pits equipped with grates and picnic tables.
Overall, the park is quiet and peaceful. Just right for a camper who likes to relax at camp.
Right on the Mississippi River, Schoolcraft State Park Campground has easy access from the river itself, so canoers have an option for tent camping, however, even the designated "canoe site" requires you to "pay to stay". Beyond that point, it was incredibly quiet and a good choice for our stay. While I was there, I tried out Boost Oxygen. I wanted to see what the hype was all about.
Overall, the campground was quiet and nice. All sites are "primitive", as there are no hookups available, however, RV's are welcome to stay. They are all "pull in" sites. No showers, just outhouse style bathrooms.
We chose this campground for our first night of camping while canoeing the Mississippi River. Along the river, there are many "free" sites that are maintained by the DNR in Minnesota. This park appeared to have one of those sites, but upon closer inspection (which was not clear on the map nor at the camp itself) it appears that you must pay to stay here, even if you are canoe camping. I wish this had been made more clear all around. A lot of canoe campers don't carry wallets with them because they don't want to lose them on the river, and they make their "sleeping" choices based on the camps they can find that are free of charge. That said, it was a nice campground. Very quiet. I'm not sure it gets used very much, but it seems to be decently maintained, despite that fact. Our site, #16, was on the far side of the campground, closer to the water. It was a short walk (less than 100 yards) down to the riverside boat landing and dock, which made it easy for us to get to our things. Outhouse style bathrooms were nearby, and although they appeared to be fairly clean, there was that classic outhouse odor. There was a beautiful site right across from the bathroom (pine trees, open space for tents, really pretty), but I wouldn't stay that close to the toilets.
There was a pump style water source in the picnic area, which was separate from the campground, but still very close by.
Please note: It's very hard to find a garbage can here. There must have been one, but we never found it.
Overall, not bad, but I would choose differently if canoe camping to avoid a fee. This time of year, they wanted $15/night.
One of the perks of being a Ranger for The Dyrt is that I get the amazing opportunity to try out incredible products for free in exchange for an honest review. This trip, I took along a mini sized can of Boost Oxygen in Menthol-Eucalyptus.
Boost is available in two sizes: 22oz for $14.99 and 4oz for $9.99. It's strange…because it's a can of air…literally…it feels like there is nothing inside. It feels like an empty can, but I swear it's in there! There are four "fragrances": Natural (no flavor), Grapefruit, Peppermint and Menthol-Eucalyptus. They are enhanced with natural essences and have a bit of flavor, but not much. More like an essence on your tongue. There are approximately fifty "bursts" in the 4oz size, and 150 in the 22oz. They measure a burst as a "1 second inhalation". So depending on how deeply you inhale and for how long will actually determine how many times you can use the can.
People use this oxygen for many things, but it seems to have originally been promoted by athletes that needed a quick recovery. Since then, they have suggested use by those that get altitude sickness, those in need of muscle recovery, to combat fatigue, etc. You can refer to their website for full details and suggestions.
I used Boost several times in a variety of situations and here are my thoughts. Please keep in mind that I did not try it as a "professional athlete".
- It is very portable, especially the 4oz version. It's roughly the size of a travel can of hairspray. Would fit very easily into a tote bag, purse or backpack.
- All fragrances are very mild and subtle, but noticeable. Nothing overwhelming, so even if you chose the wrong one, the "flavor" is gone in just a few seconds. It does not linger on your tongue. It's more of an essence.
- They say that eve though it's safe for airline travel, the TSA does NOT allow it on a plane.
- Since I'm not a pro athlete, I didn't find the need to try it in that capacity, but I did use it in a variety of non-traditional ways and it seemed to work. You know that light-headed dizzy feeling you get after blowing up your air mattress while camping? Ya…that one. Well, I figured it was because my brain needed oxygen, so I tried out Boost and it seemed to help me out a little bit! Not sure that the company ever intended it to be used this way, but I had it with me and decided to give it a go!
- I also tried it while feeling "tired". I was in the car and got that afternoon sleepy feeling. That one when the sunshine streams through the window and you feel like you need a nap. I inhaled a few times, and it seemed to kick-start my brain. I felt a bit more lively for about 10 minutes, so I'd use it again for that purpose.
I'm sure if you are and ultra-runner or a cross-country skier or Mt. Everest enthusiast, you may have more opportunity to test this out than I do, but in the few situations I decided to give it a whirl, it seemed to work!