We're home from Dan's birthday camping weekend, and we had a great time! Before talking about the actual camping, let's talk about getting ready to go camping -- a lot of work, I must confess, but also, every time we go it gets a little bit easier. We keep all of our camping gear in a couple of tubs in our basement storage locker, so all we really need to do to pack is "grab-n-go," plus pack our clothes and food. I also keep a running list of gear we need saved on the computer, so it only needs to be slightly updated each time.
All of that prep work (including the mini lemon tarts I made for Dan's birthday treat) was wonderfully worth it! We had a great weekend hiking and relaxing at Great River Bluffs State Park, located in southeastern MN along the Mississippi River, in bluff country. What a beautiful park! It seemed as though every time we took a short path off into the woods, we were met with beautiful views! We were practically tripping over "scenic overlooks." We also spent a half-day picnicking and hiking at Beaver Creek Valley state park, and took a beautiful, scenic drive through rural southern Minnesota. We found tons of "wild edibles" on our hikes, including apples, blackberries, raspberries, and plums, but most were still underripe -- we did enjoy a very modest blackberry harvest at one point, but everything else we left on the branch or bush. I also photographed many gorgeous wildflowers, which I'm too tired to take the time to identify tonight, but I'm sure you'll forgive me. :)
I'm going to forego narration, and let the photos speak for themselves: