After Sage and I enjoyed our long weekend of blacksmithing, it was Lupine's turn to slip away with me for a spell.
We've never offered our kids any sort of camp or "summer enrichment" before this season. As homeschoolers it just never occurred to any of us. But Sage did enjoy our blacksmithing weekend, and Lupine was eager for her solo-week as well. Just the two of us. For a whole week!
She chose a trip to one of my favorite places on earth – the North Shore of Lake Superior – and a day camp program at a place I worked ages ago. She would go to camp during the day, then join me back at our camper in the park in the evenings. We shared a campsite with another mother-daughter pair from Viroqua, a lifelong friend of mine and her little one.
While Lupine was at camp I hiked, knitted a few rows, visited, and wrote. After camp we'd visit with our North Shore friends, hike, our just curl in our bunk with a book for the night, exhausted by the unusually busy days.
It was lovely, albeit disorienting, to have these uninterrupted hours, one after another, day after day. I've never had five days to myself before. And when I wasn't missing my family I did manage to enjoy the space it created.
When we arrived on the north shore we found a wash of wild lupines blooming alongside every road. In full, glorious, delicious bloom. I joked to Lupine that it would be the first time in her life that no one forgot – or mispronounced – her name for a whole week! (It's loo-pin, not loo-pine, if anyone was wondering.)
And now? We're home again, albeit briefly. This summer is unprecedentedly busy for our crew. We're managing, but I'm certain there will be less on our plate next season and next summer. Because honestly, there is nothing nicer than a string of open days with my family, right here on the farm.
Although next summer? I'm sure the north shore will call us back once more. Perhaps sooner.
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Many of you emailed or commented with question on my Instagram photos from the shore that you want details! Here they are.
Where do you suggest we visit on the North Shore?
The shore is stunning from Duluth well past the Canadian border. You really can't go wrong. We camped in Tettegouche State Park and the trails, waterfalls, and campsites were all top notch. Their campsites do fill quickly, so you'll want reservations.
What's the best time of year to visit?
I lived on the North Shore for most of a year and can honestly say that the North Shore doesn't have a bad season. Peak fall color is my top pick, but anytime it's not swarming with other visitors seems like a good time to go. Bring your cross country skis if you come in winter and your canoe and hiking boots during the rest of the year.
What camp did you attend?
Lupine attended a program at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. They offer day camps, overnight camp, and adventure programs (along with school programs). I worked at Wolf Ridge as a part of their naturalist training and graduate studies program back in the mid 1990's. (Made my first batch of soap in the Wolf Ridge dorms!)
Wolf Ridge is good people doing good work. They even have an onsite organic farm providing food for the kitchen that is run by some of our old friends.
Where is that amazing waterfall?
The waterfall pictured above (and in my Instagram feed) is Caribou falls. It was a short 1/2 mile walk in off of the highway. The water is crystal clear and shallow enough that Lupine could swim right up to the falls.
Are there more waterfalls?
So many! This website gives you the step by step as you drive north from Duluth. I have yet to find one that isn't worth the hike.