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Campsite Photo Trip - 2013

Land of 10,000 Lakes

Nothing but lakes and campgrounds to see as we continue our trip through Minnesota!

Stepping back a bit in time to Temperance River I found another use for my bike basket.


It makes a great sock dryer!

Before leaving for Bear Head Lake State Park the next morning I made a batch of tacos for dinner. And was joined by a guest.

Temperance-Tacos Bug-1

He didn't eat much so there was plenty for me.

The weather continued to be nice so once again I camped topless.


I fell asleep staring at the stars, dreaming of the fun times ahead at my next stop. Right?

Route 1 leads from the shore of Lake Superior northwest to Ely, gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness as well as Bear Head Lake, about 20 miles southeast.

It was while loading supplies into my car that a suburban decided to play a game of tag. I am now it.


Great. I took care of business and headed for the campground.


After setting up camp in a nice spot (#9) I fixed the trailer. A little hammering with a piece of wood and some duck tape and it looks as good as new.

Bear-Head-Campsite Trailer-Fixed

The next day was the Fourth of July so I made an All-American campers breakfast.

4th-Breakfast-1 4th-Breakfast-2

Yummy! (once a year)

Oh, and I had another guest who sat in the exact same spot on my camera bag.


I called him Spot.

After eating I took a stroll around the campground.

The park has 73 sites, 45 having electricity. They mostly look like this one, number 58.


In 2010 Pepsi ran a contest for campers nationwide to vote for their favorite National Park. The winner was Bear Head Lake, a State Park.

I walked a trail down to the lake.

Bear-Head-Lake-Trail Bear-Head-Lake

I found some rental boats and a fishing pier.


They are on one side of a peninsula and on the other side is a great beach.


A picnic area and a new visitor center round it out.

Bear-Head-Lake-Picnic-Area Bear-Head-Lake-New-Visitor-Center

Because spring did not hit Minnesota until late June the trees were behind schedule in the seed dropping department. So they made up for that starting on the afternoon of the fourth. It looked literally like a snowfall of fuzzy brown rice crispies. as the fir trees shed.

I shook off the mat by my tent and 10 minutes later it was covered again.


I made a campfire and headed west Friday morning.


I stopped for a couple of nights at McCarthy Beach State Park. There are two campgrounds here and I visited Beatrice Lake first.


There are 30 sites, some right near the lake like number 3.


This is considered a primitive campground. Vault toilets and no reservations. It was pretty much full when I stopped by.

5 miles south is the main campground, Side Lake.


There are 59 sites, 17 with electricity. There is also no 10mph speed limit like Bear Head Lake so there were lot's of boats pulling people around on things until they fell down.

I arrived around 4pm on Friday and found just one available spot left. I only needed one so it worked out fine.

Saturday morning was overcast and drizzly as I walked the campground. It is set on a sliver of land between two lakes, Side and Sturgeon. The campground is on the former and the day use area and beach on the latter. All within walking distance.

So lets walk.

There are at least a dozen sites next to the lake along with several small docks to tie your boat up. I liked site number 19.


They lake is just to the left along with the boat ramp and fishing pier.

McCarthy-Boat-Ramp McCarthy-Beach-Fishing-Pier

Across the road is the beach.



I walked back to my site to write last week's blog post.


The rain picked up a bit.


But at least my firewood stayed dry.


I think the time has come to get a small RV...

I was in the bathroom on Saturday night when all of a sudden I heard a strange feathery flapping rustling noise.

I saw something strange and ran back to get my camera. I popped up the flash and took a photo of Mothra. (If you don't know who Mothra is, go watch some old Godzilla movies)


The body alone was over 4 inches long, the wings about 6 inches each. It was plain scary looking. Imagine that thing flying into your hair and thrashing around. Jeepers Scooby.

I left there Sunday morning for a stay at Scenic State Park.


There are two campgrounds here as well. Chase Point is the larger one with 68 sites. Almost half have electricity.


There is a boat ramp and rentals.

Chase-Point-Boat-Ramp Chase-Point-Boat-Rentals

And a nice trail along the lake which you can barely see on the left.


I stayed at the other campground here, called Lodge. It's only about a mile away. There are 25 sites and they are much more open and closer to the lake than Chase Point.


It has it's own boat ramp and fishing pier.

Scenic-Boat-Ramp Scenic-Fishing-Pier

And also several little docks to keep your boat handy.


I walked around a bit a Monday morning to take some photos of the lake. It was very scenic. Get it?

Scenic-Lake-View-1 Scenic-Lake-View-2

Below is the swimming beach.



There is also an old lodge-type building from the 30's they use as a nature center.

Scenic-Lodge Scenic-Lodge-Inside

I made some of the usual for dinner.


I left on Tuesday with a plan to spend the night at Zippel Bay State Park. It is in the northwest corner of the state on Lake of the Woods. In fact, most of the lake is in Canada.

The clouds starting building as I headed north, eventually turning to sheets of rain.


I glimpsed a sign and had to turn around to see if it said what I thought it did.


It did.

I finally arrived at Zippel Bay.


They are 57 sites here but none with electricity.


This campground is mainly used by folks looking to drop a line in the lake. If Mille Lacs Lake was the walleye capital of Minnesota, this lake takes worldwide honors.

This is how fast the weather changes here...

1pm-Lake of the Woods photo.


1:05pm-Zippel Bay Marina photo.


1:07pm-Zippel Bay boat ramp photo.



I decided not to stay as the skeeters were bad. I had driven 140 miles from Scenic State Park and decided to go another 100 to Lake Bronson State Park.

I saw a big patch of yellow next to road and stopped.


Hopefully a good omen. I arrived at Lake Bronson.


Here are the odds I was dealing with. There are 158 sites here. There are only 48 in the Lakeside Campground. There are only 6 sites right on the water. Only ONE is not reservable.

Number 45.


I finished setting up just before sunset.


I even put up lights in the screen house.



Wednesday morning was sunny.


I decided to look around the campground.

I found a boat ramp and a large swim beach.

Lake-Bronson-Boat-Ramp Lake-Bronson-Beach

(That beach is packed right now as I write this on Saturday afternoon in the picnic shelter)

A visitor center.

Lake-Bronson-Visitor-Center Inside-Lake-Bronson-Visitor-Center

And an old observation tower.


Back at camp I had a hearty lakeside breakfast.


People come from all over to stay here. My neighbors told me that it's only a seven hour drive from the Twin Cities and well worth it. Must be because the campground filled up on Friday.

My site (number 45) is not reservable but number 40 is.


It is on a small spit of land jutting into the lake, with shade and power. This one will definitely be listed in "The Best Campsites in America Part 2".

There is a section called "Lakeside Extension" with 13 sites that can be rented for the summer season, which I think lasts about nine days.


Thursday was mostly spent on the computer processing photos. I went into town later for some ice and found this.


Yep, definitely snow country.

Friday was kinda cloudy all day but that changed in the evening.




Quite heavy actually. It flooded around the screen house. My own mini-lake.


This morning, Saturday, was foggy and packed with trailers.


The sun came out around 9am and the sounds of fun echoed across the lake.

Fun. That reminds me about another fun thing to do while camping.

Rotate your tires. It's very simple.

Jack up the rear.


Remove the tire.


Attach the spare tire.


Jack up the front and swap the rear tire with the front tire.


Jack up the rear again.


Attach the front tire to the rear and then repeat on the other side.


Helpful Hint: Make sure to loosen the lug nuts just a bit before you jack up the car.

So when you are tired of hiking, fishing, biking, sewing, etcetera, try rotating your tires for a new camping thrill. Better yet, go rotate your neighbors tires. The look on their faces when they return and find you holding one of their tires in your hands will be priceless.

Regards, Park Ranger


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