Each summer Shannon's dad, the kids' grandpa Bill, is nice enough (or crazy enough, depending on how well you are acquainted with said kids) to take our whole family on a summer vacation. This summer we went up to the Bemidji, Minnesota area, to a resort called Pimushe Resort. We each wanted something a bit different: Shannon wanted to enjoy nature, Lee wanted to relax, Caleb wanted to go birding, being especially eager to see loons, Corbin wanted to fish, Nora wanted to go swimming, Alex wanted to do it all, and Rosa and Anna just wanted to get out of the van already! This was one vacation that didn't disappoint!
The cabin we rented for the week was more like a house. Full kitchen, 2 baths, and all the comforts of home. The kids had a loft room with 4 sets of bunk beds in it! Here is a view of our cabin from the dock:
And a view of our dock and Lake Pimushe:
After we unpacked and somewhat settled in, Caleb came down from the loft all excited. "I see a loon!" he cried as he ran out to the dock. And sure enough, a loon was just a stone's throw from the end of the dock. Caleb sat on the dock bench, and he and the loon sized each other up. The loon softly yodeled and cooed back to Caleb's soft quivering voice. It was truly an awe inspiring scene.
For the rest of the week, the calls of loons lulled us to sleep each night and awoke us each daybreak. Often they would fly overhead, their calls echoing all around the lake.
Right next to our cabin was the resort's playground area. The boys enjoyed playing some basketball...
while the girls loved the swings, slide, monkey bars.
Anna would swing all day if she could!
Rosa and Nora spent many happy hours playing "cats" in the little fort at the top for the jungle gym.
By far the biggest draw was Lake Pimushe itself. The kids would have been content to never leave the resort, with all the water toys they offered! The sandy beach had loads of sand castle making supplies, the swimming area had a slide, teeter-totter, big climbing ball, and trampoline, as well as paddle boats, bike boats, kayaks, canoes, and funboats, which can squirt out water!
Here's Anna hard at work making sand castles on the beach.
Corbin and Nora especially enjoyed the slide.
Alex enjoyed being the only one brave enough to swim out to the trampoline.
Anna loved "swimming," which involved her wading in the water and scooping up fist-fulls of water and drinking it faster than Daddy could stop her.
Rosa was rather funny. She loves pretending she's Ester Williams the famous movie star swimmer, but with one minor difference. Rosa doesn't like actually getting wet. By the end of our week long vacation, though, she was willing to get her feet just a bit wet.
The boys loved chasing each other around in the fun boats and bike boats.
Alex was kind enough to even let Nora have a go at using the squirter on his fun boat.
When the kids weren't allowed to get wet, (by their mean mother, who didn't want them growing gills) they discovered that the nearby weedy area made for some great frog, minnow, and other critter catching.
Nora was especially found of "her" frogs.
The boys went for the more practice route of putting their catches in a bucket.
Caleb even found a turtle!
Rosa wanted nothing to do with that whole messy business, and was horrified when a dragonfly decided her toes looked like the perfect resting spot. She kept screaming and kicking it away, but it would land right back on her toes again. I finally convinced her to just hold still enough for one picture, then I would help it find a more suitable landing pad.
A true highlight for me was the nectar feeder right outside our cabin window. Hummingbirds were everywhere! One day we had a bigger visitor:
The boys went out fishing with Grandpa several times. While no big "keepers" were caught, they had a blast.
One of their catches:
The girls also got a ride in Grandpa's boat, but they thought it a bit windy.
Corbin was very annoyed he didn't get to fish while the girls were on board.
He cheered up, though, when he lost a tooth later on that day.
We even roasted marshmallows and made some s'mores one evening!
We did manage to get away from the resort and do some other fun activities. Itasca State Park was our destination one day. We hiked several awe inspiring trails.
Caleb brought his binoculars, bird book, and birding list. He was eager to find as many birds as he could.
We walked at a nice slow pace. Anna didn't want to miss a thing.
One trail to a small lake had us a bit confused, though. It started at the top of a long, steep staircase, with this dare-you-to sign:
Here we pose in front of gigantic remains of a fallen tree.
The kids were all very excited when they spotted (and caught) a small garter snake.
The big draw of Itasca State Park is the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. Alex, Caleb, Corbin, and Nora (with Mom's help) all walked down the middle of it for a bit. They thought it was really cool that they were transversing such an important waterway!
Here's a neat shot of the "mighty Mississippi" in it's infancy.
Rosa walked over the Mississippi by foot with Grandpa.
We finished our day at the park with the kids splashing and frolicking in the headwaters area.
Another smaller state park we enjoyed roaming was the Bemidji State Park. It's right in town, but you'd never know it once inside hiking the trails. The kids somewhat protested Mom making them hike more trails, but they really enjoyed walking along the shore of the big lake. On the trails, Alex was on the bug hunt, and was rewarded with a big green caterpillar.
The girls were being a bit crabby, so when I saw this sign I jumped at the photo opportunity.
Even this tree surrendered when the girls approached. (Alex, too!)
Once we went rock hunting along the beach the girls cheered up and had fun. Here's the gang on a log:
Caleb was so excited to find 2 feathers that were black with white spots. "Loon feathers! I'm sure of it," he cried happily.
The girls enjoyed visiting Paul Bunyan Animal Land much more. First we had to stop and ask Paul if it was okay to see his animals.
We got there right when it opened, and the owners were just about to bottle feed the baby deer. They gave the kids each a bottle so they could try. The kids all loved it!
The girls got especially attached to one adorable fawn.
The park had bears, raccoons, camels, and trout, just to name a few, but the kids liked feeding the free roaming deer the most.
Some of them got down right pushy!
Grandpa thought the whole thing a bit silly.
Before we knew it, our week of fun was about done. The last day was cold and rainy, so we headed to the Headwaters Science Center for some fun. We all had a blast! Nora got all her sensory needs met by touching every critter there. The museum worker was impressed, to say the least. Here's Nora with a rabbit,
a handful of snakes,
and helping Rosa with a huge boa constrictor.
Even Caleb wanted a turn with that big one!
Nora also held a walking stick, and even let Alex have a turn.
Rosa found a sandbox with dinosaurs, and had a blast playing in it.
The museum also had many hands on fun labs with bubbles, sound, echoes, and strobe light shadows.
I will leave you with the kids posing in front of the Pimushe Resort's sign.
We all had a truly wonderful time, and will look back on the fond memories for many years to come.