“How much longer now, Dad?” asked Daley repeatedly as we hiked the 1.7 miles to Tettegouche Camp and the cabin in which we were going to spend Thanksgiving. Tim patiently answered each time, “Not much longer now.” We could have easily been mistaken for the Smurf family.
It was a challenging trek because the trail was covered in heavy, wet snow and the incline steady. We were carrying heavy packs and pulling sleds with supplies for our three days in the woods, and for much of the way, a 5-year-old. But the light snow falling as darkness surrounded us and the anticipation of time together in a log cabin kept us motivated.
As did granola bars.
And sledding on the declines.
Roughing It…Sort Of
Historic Tettegouche Camp was built over a hundred years ago on Mic Mac Lake. We rented one of the four original, rustic log cabins. Cabin B was just feet away from the lake and had two bedrooms. Our amenities included a wood stove for heat, electricity for lights, a small refrigerator, and two-burner hotplate. We fetched water from the nearby hand pump and took delightfully warm showers and used flush toilets in the shower house. An outhouse was nearby our cabin too.
A Wild Playground
The kids spent hours outside playing. At one point, Daley wistfully remarked, “I could live here. And I wouldn’t even mind not having toys because there’s the woods, there’s the lake.” It might be time to introduce him to the writings of John Muir who said, “Going to the woods is going home.”
Thanksgiving Dinner over an Open Fire
Last year at the camper cabin at Bear Head Lake State Park, we ate turkey dogs for our Thanksgiving feast. This year, Tim took on the task of cooking a slightly more upscale meal over the campfire. Our delicious meal included Cornish game hens roasted on the fire grate, sweet potatoes wrapped in foil and buried in a pit of coals, and homemade apple crisp baked in foil on the grate.
Daley rounded out our meal with bannock. At home, he premixed the universal dry ingredients of flour, salt, and baking powder with a touch of sugar and cinnamon. He planned to wrap the dough around a stick to bake over the fire like a marshmallow, but accidently added too much water, making the dough too sticky and flimsy. He quickly problem-solved and put blobs of dough on the fire grate to make bun-like bannock. They were a huge hit at our feast and the next morning.
A Kid’s Perspective
To continue our tradition of listing highlights from each state park in our quest to visit them all, here is what the kids enjoyed most.
Park Highlights as Reported by Finley (5 years old)
- Breaking the ice on the lake.
- Sleeping in the bunk beds.
- Our dinner buffet [the first night we put out a smorgasbord with Russ Kendall’s smoked salmon and trout that we picked up on our way through Knife River, veggies, white cheddar cheese, and crackers. Who doesn’t love finger foods?].
- Playing “Bear” [our neighbors in the cabin next door, Ellen and Mackenzie, became instant friends].
Park Highlights as Reported by Daley (9 years old)
- The shed with the hydraulic, foot-powered log splitter and ice fishing sled.
- The lake. It was just nice.
- The wood stove and making the fire and boiling water on top.
- The well pump. I’ve never used one before.
- Our neighbors. They were nice and fun.
Tettegouche State Park is north of Silver Bay and just over a one-hour drive from Duluth.
It’s worth visiting other parts of the park too, especially Palisade Head and the Tettegouche Visitor Center. I share a few tips here.
Have you visited Tettegouche Camp in Tettegouche State Park? Share your experiences in the comment box below. Thanks!