TyAnn L.

Aurora, MN

Joined June 2016

We live in the beautiful Iron Range area in Minnesota. By weekday I am a Customer Experience Advocate at Waschke Family Chrysler, by weekend we camp!

Family friendly adventures await among the tall oakes and maples

Mystery Cave State Park is surrounded in in a lush green forest with huge oak and maple trees that hang over the road like a huge living canopy. My new word while we stayed there was “Forresty” due to feeling like we had entered a different world. There are so many activities to do both within the park and surrounding areas, but my most favorite thing to do was walk the endless miles of hiking trails. (Word to the wise, some of the trails are hiking/equestrian so watch your step😂) We didn’t do our homework, but if we would have known, we would have brought our fishing rods as the rivers were full of trout!!

We arrived at 2:00pm on Saturday, after a long 5 hour drive from northern Minnesota. It was amazing to watch the landscape change from iron ore mining pits to countless acres of corn and potatoes!! Check in time is 4:00pm, but our spot was empty when we arrived, so the park rangers let us set up early (Friendly and most helpful!!) We grabbed a bundle of wood for $6.00 for a campfire while we were at the park office. (that is pretty normal rates as you can’t bring in your own wood at State Parks in Minnesota) There are 3 different loops, an additional equestrian loop, and 5 cabins. We stayed in loop “C” with has bigger sites for RV’s and offers electricity. Loops “A” and “B” have smaller sites (still big!!) and both of those loops are non-electric. None of the sites are “full” hook up, but there is a dump station & fresh water fill right off the park office. The restrooms and showers are just off of the “C” loop, as was the amphitheater, and there are garbage/recycling bins every 4-5th site. The park was very noisy, but that all changed when most of the folks left Sunday. It was very peaceful the rest of the week.

There are so many things outside the park to do too!! We were not aware, but the Mystery Cave is a short drive from the state park. We took the scenic tour, and our guide Kip was fantastic!!! Hey let everyone ask all the questions they wanted to, and didn’t rush us at all!! The rate is $15.00 for adults, $10.00 for kids 5-12, and kids under 5 go for free. The pictures just don’t do it justice!! The next day we drove to Masonic Park in Spring Valley and we were amazed by the sheer size of the rock face!! There is no charge to picnic or visit there and there is one spot for camping, but you need to get permission from the city before doing so. We also toured Niagra Cave which is a longer drive, but well worth it!! The underground waterfall was super cool!! They charge $16.00 per adult, kids 4-12 are $10.00, and children under 4 are free.

All in all this was a great get away for our family, and I highly recommend staying at the park:)

Untouched Wilderness with a beautiful view.

Did you know that the state of Minnesota’s highest and lowest elevations are only a few miles apart? It’s true!! The lowest point in our state is the shoreline of Lake Superior (692 feet above sea level) and the highest point is Eagle Mountain just northwest of Grand Marais, MN. If you would like to get off the beaten path, away from anything modern (Cel phone signal included) and see some amazing views, a trip to Eagle Mountain is just what the doctor ordered!!

Make sure you pack comfortable hiking shoes and an extra few pairs of dry socks when you head to Eagle Mountain Trail. The trail is a 7 mile trek that is partially in the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. If you want to just hike for the day, there is a self issue permit at the trail entry point (#79) and if you want to camp overnight, you need to set up a reservation at The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness webpage https://www.recreation.gov/permits/BoundaryWatersCanoeAreaWilderness/r/permitCalendar.do?page=calendar&contractCode=NRSO&parkId=72600 . There is a parking lot at the trailhead that is available for overnight use, but during the summer months the lot fills up very quickly and people are left to park on the side of the road outside the trailhead. There are no carts so you have to carry in everything you need.

Our campsite was very primitive and situated on the banks of Elephant Lake just after the trail split between Eagle Mountain Trail (#79) and the Brule Lake Trail (#78) There is a rock fire pit with a separate rock surrounded fire grate for cooking,and a bench that was made from a downed tree (watch for slivers!!) The pit toilet was a good distance from our site, but the path was well worn and easy to follow. Cell phone signal was at zero bars at our site, and very spotty at one bar during our hike. We are by no means expert hikers, but we felt it was pretty easy to reach the top and back down again. We did not rush and stopped along the way to take water breaks as it reached 85 degrees. The hike took us a little over 4 hours to accomplish. This was on my camping “bucket list”, and am so glad we made it!!

Comfort camping on the Mississippi

The Pokegama Dam & Recreation Area is a small but comfortable campground just minutes from Grand Rapids, Minnesota. There are 19 extra large campsites that can accommodate a large RV, boat & trailer, and vehIcle wIth room to spare, and also two gorgeous campsItes rIght along the bank of the MIssIssIppI RIver. We had a girls getaway camping trip here during the Tall Timber Days Festival so the campground was at full capacity.

There are so many activities to do while staying at the campground!! We toured the dam area that offers a great history lesson about the dam, we spent time in the boat fishing on Lake Pokegama, there are gorgeous and well maintained trails to hike (bring bug spray!!) and a great breeze coming off the dam/river to sit and enjoy the spectacular view of mighty pines and oak trees. The only drawbacks for us(hence the 4 star rating) are that you are just feet off the 4 lane highway, so there is a lot of traffic noise, and the cost per nIght Is $26.00.

All campsites (save the 2 tent areas) offer 30 amp electric service, and there is a roomy area for dump/fresh water/drinking water fill. There’s a great playground for kids, and a big picnic shelter that’s reservable. The bathrooms were very clean, and they have 1 shower stall in both the men’s and women’s bathroom. Plus they have 1 family/handicap accessible bathroom. The fish cleaning shack is clean, and has a beautiful flower garden surrounding it:)

Next time we visit we will bring our kayaks to paddle down the Mississippi. To make a reservatIon (up to 6 months In advance) by goIng onlIne to www.recreatIon.gov or callIng 1-877-444-6777. Check out is at Noon. And while you’re in Grand Rapids, we recommend taking the tour of the Forest History Center-great for adults and kids!!

Ranger Review: Mountain House at Anglers Campground Zippel Bay State Par

Campground Review

This was the first time our family stayed at Angler's Campground in Zippel Bay State Park on Lake of the Woods. https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/park.html?id=spk00284#homepage The Zipple Bay State Park is home to 5 separate campgrounds. We made the decision to camp at Anglers Campground for the reasons of the campground is the closest to the marinia, and it has bigger site sizes to accommodate our larger RV/Boat size, although the campground had mostly tents in it the week we stayed. We took a hike to the other campgrounds (about 1/2 mile between them) and observed that Ridge and Birch Campgrounds can accommodate both tents and smaller pop up style campers, Lady Slipper Campground has more primitive and smaller sites that would accommodate a small to medium size tent, and The Group Camp (there is only one) has plenty of room for many tents and campers with room to spare. Anglers Campground has the largest sites with plenty of room for an RV, Screen tent, Boat trailer, with room to spare. All sites in all campgrounds do not have electric/water/dumps. There are fresh water pumps in all campgrounds and mowed trails to the vault toilets that are clean, there are also metal garbage cans and recycling bins for plastic and glass. There is a dump station and 2 enclosed showers in the Ridge/Birch campgrounds loop. There are signs that clearly mark which direction to go.

The marina and boat ramp area was approximately 1 & 1/2 miles from our campsite, and this area also had 2 very clean vault toilets along with a fish cleaning building, and picnic area. There is a marina where you can also moor your boat for the day, and ample parking spots. NOTE: The handicap accessible ramp/dock/fishing pier was closed due to ice damage from the previous winter with no sign of it being fixed at this time. The boat ramp was easy to use, but we noticed it was very crowded early mornings. Lake of the Woods is considered the Walleye Capital of the World, and we had an incredible week of catching our dinners!!

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. We took our Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy for a product review.https://www.mountainhouse.com/m/product/biscuits-gravy.html The website at Mountain House is very easy to navigate, and they have a pop up window discount offer when you enter their site. When I received the package I was surprised at how light weight the product was, and was excited by their description of Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy with Pork Patty Crumbles. We are a big breakfast family, and I was curious to see if this was a good fit for us.

I gave the task of preparing the Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy to my 14 year old son Hunter. We read the easy to follow directions on the back of the package, and followed them to the letter. (We did not use less water to make thicker gravy) Hunter measured the boiling water into the package, stirred the mixture well, and sealed it up with no problems at all, and then all we had to do was wait 9 minutes. We opened the package (it was hot, but nothing we had to use a hot pad or glove for) and noted that it smelled like the biscuits just came out of a hot oven. We did note the mixture needed to be stirred again, and there was no need to add additional water (the gravy was perfect consistency not to thick or thin) and then each served up the recommended serving size and enjoyed the delicious hot breakfast. The flavors were bright with the sausage coming through nicely with no need for additional seasonings at all. We were all full with our serving size, and stayed content after a full day of hiking.

Being we have never tried freeze dried food before this was a wonderful first experience, and for sure won't be our last!! The lightweight package is going to go well for any trip, and the easy prep makes it a breeze to make anywhere. Our family is looking forward to purchasing other meals from Mountain House, and with the extra long expiration date we can stock up. You won't be disappointed using these meals!!

On the lake resort with everything you need

We stayed at Balsam Beach Resort & RV Park at the height of summer vacation on Lake Plantagenet in Bemidji. The resort was at full capacity, so it was crowded with no privacy that we prefer to have. (one of the reasons for the lower star rating) We brought our RV and boat, and there was room to park our boat trailer by the boat landing. There are many seasonal sites, cabins for rent, and an open field area for camping in a tent, and 4 RV spots. We stayed in RV spot #1, and the spot came with a picnic table and a fire ring which we did not use because the size of the space put our RV to close to the ring. There is a big fire ring down by the lake that anyone can use (please note you can not bring in your own firewood, they have it available for purchase in the lodge for $5.00 for a small bundle) All RV sites are full hook up with 30 amp electric service, and water and dump. If you bring a boat, it will need to be inspected before you launch it into the lake. There is a big dumpster where you can put your trash in, and they also have bins for aluminum cans, and glass and plastic recycling.

Most of our time was spent fishing on the lake, but we were impressed with the other activities they offered to people staying there including a swimming pool, beach toys, paddle boats, canoes, inflatable rafts, a playground, a baseball field, horse shoes, volley ball sand pit, work out room, and laundry facilities (bring your quarters!! A regular wash and dry is $4.00) They also off cable TV hook up, and have a "general store" that sells sweatshirts, tshirts, ice cream, coffee, and has movie rentals for $4.00 per movie/per day. (Yes, we got the sense that everything is an additional fee) They do allow pets, but at a cost of $5.00 per day. The resort was clean and well maintained by the owners. We just did not feel a sense of welcome from the owners, and will not be making a return trip in the future. It was nice being only a few miles away from the city of Bemidji as we spent a day visiting Paul Bunyan and Babe, and Bemidji State Park to hike the Bog walk (recommended!!) We also spent a day fishing on Lake Bemidji, which is a 10 minute drive from the resort.

Ranger Review: Grand Trunk Single Parachute Hammock at Leech Lake Rec Area

There are countless outdoor adventures that await you at the Leech Lake Rec Area in Northern Minnesota. From fishing for plentiful Walleyes, Northern Pike, Perch, and Bass, to biking on the trails, or spending a day at the playground, this park offers adventures for all ages!!

Campground Review

This was the second year our family spent 9 days at the Leech Lake Rec Area. https://www.recreation.gov/camping/leech-lake-rec-area/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=73246. We were very happy that we picked a site change to #11 this year as this spot offered plenty of tall pine trees that offered wonderful shade, and gave us a great opportunity to test out our Grand Trunk Hang Anywhere Single Hammock!! Again the park was at full capacity when we arrived, so make sure you make your reservations plenty early. (We made our reservations 6 months in advance.) The campground volunteers have done an amazing job with keeping the area full of fun activities for the whole family, and I can't stress how CLEAN the bathrooms are:) This park offers 68 sites with electric hook ups, 5 full hook up sites, and 4 primitive walk to tent sites, and 2 sites being Handicap Accessible within 3 different loops. Each loop has a bathroom with Mens/Womens sides, and the main loop offers a Fish cleaning building, Laundry facilities, and a Shower/Restroom building seperated for Men/Women. There are garbage and recycling cans every 3rd to 4th site. And they have specific check in times, but let you set up and come back later to check in if you arrive earlier or later.

The sites are comfortable with plenty of room for a bigger RV, screen tent, boat trailer, and vehicle with plenty of room to spare. We spent the bulk of our time out on Leech Lake having luck catching some really nice Walleyes!! You have to navigate a channel to reach the lake, but it is easy to find your way. We brought our kayaks last summer and had a blast exploring all the nooks and crannies in the channel. The sound of the Loons calling at night are so beautiful to listen to while enjoying a campfire at the site. (Note only approved firewood is allowed at the park, and can be purchased from the general store for $20.00 for a wheelbarrow.)

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. Last year I won the June West North Central Review contest and won a gift certificate for Grand Trunk https://www.grandtrunk.com/. I was able to purchase 2 items the Parasheet Beach Blanket (reviewed at Fisherman's Point Campground) and the Single Parachute Nylon Hammock. On this trip, I tested the Hang Anywhere Single Parachute Nylon Hammock https://www.grandtrunk.com/products/single-parachute-nylon-hammock?variant=17340207875. The website at Grand Trunk is so easy to navigate, and their customer service department is top notch in knowledge and support!!

Let me start by saying our family has never owned or used a hammock, ever. I was suprised how small of a item this is when packed in its attached carrying bag. I ordered the hammock in Royal/Kahki, and the colors are gorgeous!! The hammock comes with everything you need to hang it up with instructions that are very simple and easy to follow. The hammock comes with a starter rope kit (Two 5 foot long 5mm rope thickness cords) that you wrap around the tree and knot to the attached carabiners. Even with being a newbie to hammocks, my husband Rich had the hammock hanging up within 5 minutes flat.

I can not put in words how extremely comfortable a person is while hanging out in this hammock!! It makes no difference your height or weight (up to 400lbs capacity for this single) the parachute fabric wraps around your body and has you melting all your cares away. Our rescue pup, Max even loved taking an afternoon snooze (and photo opportunity) with me!! The little storage pouch was super handy for holding my water bottle and phone, and it was super easy to pack the hammock back up in it when we were heading home from our vacation. The super light 20 oz. weight would make it a breeze to carry while backpacking too.

Overall, I have fallen in love with our Grand Truck Single Parachute Nylon Hammock. We have plans on ordering the Double Hammock and Hangout Hammock Stand for our backyard. (Who doesn't need a little hanging therapy after mowing the lawn?!?) The amazing color choice they have are going to make it hard on which one to pick, but my vote is going to Crimson/Charcoal. Grand Trunk offers a lifetime warranty on their hammocks, and that really adds to your peace of mind. I always do my best to review product transparently, and can not find one thing I would change with this product. You will be extremely happy and comfortable swinging your cares away in a Grand Trunk Hammock!!

Comfort just minutes away from adventures in Voyageurs National Park

Our Family stayed at Headquarters RV Park in Buyck (just outside of Orr, MN) for 4 days over the Memorial Day weekend, and we were so impressed!! This is a new, family owned and operated park situated on 30 acres of beautiful pines. The hosts Brad and Koreen are so welcoming, and have put their hearts into making this Park a refuge from the hustle and busle of our hetic work week.

The one thing we appreciated the most is how close they are to Crane Lake, Namakan Lake, Voyageurs National Park, and the Superior National Forest. We spent our time fishing and checking out visitor destinations like the I. W. Stevens Resort (a historical jem!!) After a long day of fun it was so nice to sit out in the screen tent listening to the ruffled grouse drum and the peace and quiet of nature. There are only 13 spacious sites in this park with plenty of room to fit your RV, boat or 4 wheelers and trailer, screen tent with plenty of room to spare, and beautiful pines between you and your neighbor for privacy.

When you arrive you will find your site ready with a picnic table and fire pit. The full service hook ups are easy to access, and make set up a breeze!! They offer 20, 30, and 50 amp service, and make note that they also offer a potable water station too. Firewood is available for purchase, but don’t be surprised if the Sokoloski’s invite you to their host site for a campfire:) The walking paths are beautiful too!! We brought our dog Max, and he loved it too!! We’ll be back for sure!!

Ranger Review: Ledlenser MH10 Headlamp Outdoor Series at Noma Lake Campground, Chippewa National Forest Max, MN

Campground Review:

 This simple campground is located on Noma Lake, with Clear Lake just across the dirt road. It’s a small 14 site campground, and is open just seasonally. We visited the last weekend it was open for the season, and it will be closed until May 10, 2018. The use fee is $14.00 per night on any site of your choice on a first come, first served basis (No reservations) There are no hook ups of any sort at this campground. Each site is spacious, with 3 to 4 sites being bigger to accommodate a larger camper. If you have a lot of tents, or a bigger camper, we would recommend Site 1, 2, 4 or 9.

We enjoyed the campground, but noticed the lack of upkeep. We are not sure if it was due to it being the last week open, or if it was the entire season. The vault toilet was not clean, the picnic area was not mowed, and there was a good amount of downed tree limbs that were scattered throughout the entire campground. The noise of the traffic going by on the road was a small distraction, and there was a fair amount of dust coming in the campsite. We were the only campers that were staying there, so it was very peaceful and we had the ramp/dock area all to ourselves. The fall colors were absolutely stunning tooJ The beach area across the road was nice too.


Product Review:

 As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I have the privilege of receiving products to test from time to time. We tested the LEDLENSER MH10 Outdoor Serier Headlamp. https://www.ledlenserusa.com/mh10-507.html#start=2  Their shipping and delivery time is super speedy!! I was so excited to see the word “Rechargeable” and 7 Year Warranty on the outside of the box, this company really stands behind their product!! Taking the headlamp out of the package, I noticed right away how lightweight (5.6oz.) it is!! The strap is adjustable, and easy to adjust from my husband, to our son in seconds. Also included are a red and a green color filter (very easy and quick to change), along with a usb charging cord. We tested the headlamp camping, but my husband can’t wait to take it with him this deer hunting season!!

We did test the battery life, and are happy to report that we got over 1 additional hour of run time on high power. We all agreed the feature we appreciated the most was the advanced focus system!! This technology sure has come a long way in the past few years!! My husband will never use his old headlamp from this point forward. The light given off was amazingly clear for being so bright (*NOTE Do not shine directly into another persons eyes!! My son gave me “spot” vision for many minutes!!) We were in temps dipping down into the mid 30’s, and noticed no change of the performance due to the cold.   We used it along the trails to the lake at the darkest point in night, and the rapid focus kept right up with my son changing from the path to signs along the way. We know this headlamp will be well utilized for our night and ice fishing season as well!!  Job well done LEDLENSER!!

Rocking RockTember Music Festival

We booked our stay at the RV Resort so we wouldn't have to drive two and a half hours back and forth during the two day Grand RockTember Music Festival. *Please note when there's an event, book early!! This RV Resort has 271 RV/Camping full hook up sites that include a picnic table and fire pit. The sites are very close together with little to no privacy, but it did a fine job as we were there for the concert. Guest Services were super friendly when we checked in, and they give you a pass card to enter & exit the Resort. There is 24 hour security, and shuttle bus service to the casino, although we enjoyed the 1/2 mile walk to the amphitheater. All the sites are back in only, and are a tight squeeze for bigger rigs. They enforced the quite hours well, and we got a good nights sleep. There's a heated outdoor pool, and small convince store in the guest services building. They have a pet walking area, and kennels if you want to spend time at the casino. The bathhouse offered private toilet stalls and showers, and we squeaky clean!!! If you like to golf, don't miss the 18 hole Grand National Golf Course next door. We enjoyed our stay, and will be back again.

Ranger Review: GRAND TRUNK PARASHEET BEACH BLANKET at Fisherman’s Point Campground Hoyt Lakes, MN

Campground Review:

****This campground is located on beautiful Whitewater Lake in Hoyt Lakes, MN. The fall colors are absolutely gorgeous right now, and my pictures don’t even come close to doing them justice!! We have lived just 5 miles down the road from this campground for over 20 years, and regret not camping here sooner!! This campground is very family and pet friendly with so many activities to choose from. We spent the bulk of our time hiking the paved trails, and fishing the lake. You can reserve a spot online at http://www.fishermanspointmn.com/ , or it’s a first come first served campground. There were plenty of spots available when we camped there, but recommend reserving during the busy summer months.

There are 93 spacious and wooded sites divided into separate loops. If you are driving a bigger RV or 5th Wheel some corners can be tight, but they are currently upgrading and widening the traffic areas. Some of the campsites are right on the waterfront which was nice for mooring our boat close to us. They have some 50/30/20 amp spots, but none of the spots are a full hook up with dump capabilities. The campground hosts were super friendly and the showerhouses/restrooms were super clean and smelled freshJ There is no bringing in outside wood for campfires, but they have a nice little general store where you can purchase bundles. Each spot comes with a nice picnic table and a fire ring. One of the things we liked most is the shelters and grill pits they have right on the lakeshore. They have 2 separate boat ramp areas so there is no congestion or waiting in line to get in the water, and the fish cleaning house is just a few steps off the boat ramp. Quiet hours are from 11:00pm to 7:00am, but we noticed there is no enforcement of that rule, hence the 4 Star rating.


Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I have the privilege of receiving products to test from time to time. I tested the PARASHEET Beach Blanket from Grand Trunk. https://www.grandtrunk.com/collections/goods-for-the-campsite/products/parasheet-beach-blanket-new-colors Navigating their website is easy and very user friendly!! The thing I appreciated the most is that they are in constant contact with you from the minute you place the order to when it arrives on your doorstep. The shipping time is super speedy from this company!! All items were packed well, and they included a free can cozy and decal sticker (it went on our 5th Wheel!!)

When I took Parasheet, my first thought was that I would not have used the word blanket in the description, it is so much more!! (on their website they use the sentence “The Best Beach Blanket Ever.” With that being said, the parachute nylon fabric is very lightweight, but super durable. This sheet is a packing/carrying dream!! They have a nice variety of colors available, and I ordered the Parasheet in the color Berry Bronzed. The contrast between the deep blue/tan colors is absolutely stunning!! The one feature I liked right away is that the sheet has it’s own drawcorded carrying/storage bag for easy packing and storing. We had a chance to take the sheet out on a windy day, and the sand pockets helped keep it in place while we staked it down. There are an endless amount of uses for this sheet while camping, and at home too!! (my son of course tested and gave a “thumbs up” on the Superman cape tryout lol) The parasheet stood up very well on different types of terrain (we tested sand, gravel rock, and pine needles) Overall, I think the Grand Trunk Parasheet is well priced at $39.99, and would recommend it to all!!

Family Friendly Stop Over

We stayed at the Mitchell KOA one night as a stop over on our way to Custer, SD. The feature we liked best is that all RV, 5th Wheel/Camper sites are set up as pull through. We called while on the road to see if they had any open spots, and they got us in for the night:) The campground hosts were very welcoming and friendly. There is an outdoor pool, but it was pretty crowded (With temps in the 90's who could blame anyone!!!) and they have a cute little miniature golf course too!! This is a pet friendly place with a large fenced in area for your pets to play in. The only drawback we saw was the lack of trees for shade and privacy. You can literally shake hands with your next door neighbor while sitting at your picnic table.

Ranger Review: OOFOS OOlala Slide Sandal at For Welikit Family Campground and RV Park in The Black Hills National Forest Custer, SD

Campground Review:

If you are looking for a family and pet friendly place to camp while visiting the Black Hills South Dakota area, look no further!! We started planning our family trip 6 months ago, and booked the Fort Welikit Family Campground and RV park based on reviews we read online. We wanted to be in between Custer State Park (Kids choice) and The Badlands (Dad and Moms choice)

There are 100 sites nestled in gorgeous tall pine trees. The tent sites are located on the south two loops, and the Tipi and Cabins sites are mixed in with the RV sites. We stayed 9 days in site 20 that is a RV 50 Amp Pull through site. Check in time is 1:00pm, and check out time is 11:00am. **Very important to know: The trees are fighting the Pine Beetle, so they DO NOT allow you to hang anything like clothes line or hammocks on them. ALSO they DO NOT allow you to bring in out of the area firewood. They do sell approved firewood at the office for $4.50 for a small bundle. The family style bathrooms were located just behind our site, and were cleaned daily. (If we ever stayed there again we would ask for a space on a further loop, as this was a high traffic area!!) The offer a laundry room with washers and dryers as well, but bring our quarters as a wash cycle was $1.75 a load, and the dryer is .25 for a 6 minute cycle. The added kids old time fort play area and the dog park area were well kept and there was plenty of room to play ladder ball and washer toss. We would highly recommend this campground to anyone looking for a family/pet friendly area. If you are looking for solitude, this would not be the place for you.


Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. I tested the OOlala Slide Sandal from OOFOS Footwear https://www.oofos.com/ that I won in the West North Central Review Contest in June. Let me begin by saying I was a little nervous when I thought about what size to order (I am an 8 & 1/2 Wide ladies) I went to the website, and immediately drawn to the OOlala Slide Sandal. When I went into the description, under the "pick your size" button is a handy little "sizing" tab. When you click the tab it reads "If you normally wear a whole size: order the same whole size OOFOS. If you normally wear a half size: Order a half size UP for best fit. (MEN: Order a half size DOWN for best fit) Problem solved!! I ordered the sandals on July 1st and they were delivered on my doorstep on July 5th. Talk about FAST shipping for a holiday week to boot!!

When I took the sandals out of the package I was very impressed with the shape and styling of the shoe. I put them on and know that this was no ordinary pair of slip on sandals!! The arch support immediately took pressure off the ball of my foot, and the cushion put a springy bounce in every single step I took. I couldn't wait to take them on our 10 day family vacation to see how they performed!!

Day #1 we hiked the Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak). It is the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. After our 7 mile hike, I couldn't wait to put my OOFOS sandals on and let the recovery begin!! I wore them while showering and walking back to the campsite. My feet did not slip or slide in them, and they were dry within minutes!! The next day we headed to The Bad Lands, and I wore them all day long. They kept my feet comfortable and energized while putting on another 7 miles of walking!! After returning home from our vacation I have worn my OOFOS gardening, fishing, and even washing my SUV. I am 100% hooked on OOFOS!!

Neither Mosquitoes nor Gnats nor Noseeums kept us away from our Crane Lake Adventure!!

Crane Lake is so unique!! It is the Southern Entry to Voyageurs National Park, the Western entry to Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and The Superior Forest borders the East side of Crane Lake.

***NOTE Don't forget to bring along a detailed map as there are hundreds of islands and turns on this beautiful lake.

We camped on the United States side of Crane Lake. Once again you need to be aware of the United States/Canadian borders while in the water. Our headquarters were set up at Handberg's Marina http://www.handbergs.com/

There are 3 back Country campsites located just offset to the Vermilion Gorge Trailhead. These campsites have no fees and are on a first come, first served basis.

The Vermilion Gorge Trailhead hike is a 1 & 1/2 mile trail that featues sheer granite cliffs and waterfalls-it was breathtaking due to the high water levels this year-another note: be very cautious if you bring small children.

Countless Adventures Await You at Leech Lake Rec Area!!

Our family just returned from a 9 day stay at Leech Lake Receeation Area, and wish we could have stayed 9 more!! The Campground is located in north central Minnesota (Federal Dam) about 30 minutes southeast of Bemidji or a 3 & 1/2 hour drive from Minnneapolis/St. Paul, MN area, and is run by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Volunteers. The park is located in the Leech Lake Reservation and Chippewa National Forest.

The park has 77 sites available that you can make reservations online at: https://www.recreation.gov/camping/leech-lake-rec-area/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=73246

**Note: We reserved our spot 6 months in advance as they book up super fast in the short Minnesota summer months.

There are 73 sites with electric hook ups (5 are full hook ups) or if you want to tent in a private setting, they have 4 primitive walk to sites. Each site has a large picnic table and fire ring with adjustable grill.

When you check in they give you a code that allows you access to the comfort building (flush toilets, showers, and laundry facilities) We took advantage of the boat mooring area (just a few steps down from the campground) that includes a plug in area to recharge our boat batteries, and we really appreciated the fish cleaning station building!! (Super clean!!!)**See pics of the awesome fish we caught-Note all Walleye in the 20-26 inch slot size must be released.

We spent the majority of the time enjoying Leech Lake, but we also spent time hiking the trails (Check out the 400 year old Cedar Tree!!), we played horseshoes, and shuffle board (a new game to us!!), and relaxing by the campfire. **NOTE Only certified & approved firewood can be used in the park. There is a general store just outside the park that sells it for $20.00 a wheelbarrow full.

We would give this campground 6 stars if we could, and know you would too!! Enjoy the pics!!

Fall Camping and Hunting Trip

We camped for Minnesota Grouse Hunting Season. The sites are roomy (boat in, drive in, or backpack available) The Chase Point Trail is gorgeous for hiking!! You are not allowed to bring in your own firewood, but the campground host has bundles of split wood for purchase.

Walleye Fishing Opener Weekend 2017

We celebrated the 2017 Minnesota Walleye Fishing Season opener at one of our favorite campgrounds. North Star campground has 38 sites between north and south loops. The sites are not reservable, and are available on a first come, first served basis. Camping is $14.00 for a single site, and $28.00 for groups. Each site has a fire ring and an oversized picnic table. There are also outhouses and a well water pump on each loop. This year we were greeted by a new campground host who was very friendly. There are many smaller sorounding lakes within a few miles to fish from, and if you like hiking and historic sites, don't miss the Suomi Hills hiking trail. Listening to the loons tonight reminds me of how very lucky we are to call Minnesota home.

Lots to do at Vermilion Trail Park Biwabik, MN

Upon arriving you are greeted by friendly and helpful campground hosts. There are three different loops and areas to camp. The campsites are a little smaller and are not private (that may change as more leaves will be coming in on the trees) but you for sure do see your neighbor. There are a variety of things to do from this campground. You are in the heart of the Mesabi Trail, a 132 mile bike/hike trail system. The trails are very well marked:) Also the campground is only three miles away fro Giants Ridge Ski Resort/Golfing. The campground is also on Embarrass Lake, and features boat landings and a sand beach with playground. The bath house/showers were clean and well maintained. A great place to camp overall.

Early Spring Camping

This was our first camping trip of the year:) The camping sites are very roomy with a picnic table and fire pit. Some campsites also have bear proof food lockers. We camped in a site that also had electrical hook up. For those that want to have more privacy, there are cart in sites. At the entrance of the campground there are very clean men's and women's restrooms that have private showers. There are hiking trails that are clearly marked to each of the waterfalls. The views are spectacular!! There are plenty of spots for fishing too!!

Our Family Favorite Campground!!

We have been staying at the North Star Campground for the past 10 years. This campground has no electric hook ups. The sites are roomy with a nice fire ring that has a grilling grate on it, and an extra large picnic table. The campground host Brock is friendly and welcoming. We spend many hours fishing the many different bays of North Star Lake with luck catching Muskies. There are a few sites with a stair case to lake access, and the public boat launch access is less than a 1/2 mile away from the campground.

Fantastic Northern Minnesota Family Campground!!

Our family has stayed at the Onegumme Campground twice last year, and we have reservations set to go again this July!! The sites are super spacious that fit our 28 foot camper, boat & trailer, and 2 vehicles with room to spare!! There are nice wooded areas between each campsite so it feels very private as well. We spent many hours on the lake, and also walking the many hiking trails. Our campsite also came with electric hook up. Our campground hosts were very friendly, and available at all times. This campground is highly recommended!!!