Yesterday morning we packed up the car, met up with friends, and drove up to Wild River State Park to enjoy the weekend. It was beautiful weather--we never put the rain fly on (though we were tempted to for keeping in the heat in the tent over night, but we all stayed warm enough, I think). After getting the last two non-electric sites available (I really hate how camping has become a reservation-needed system), we set up camp, and the we headed to the Franconia Sculpture Garden. I appreciate that the artist create interactive works--and many that the kids can climb on.
Due to taking a relaxed pace with the afternoon, we ran out of time to climb on the rocks at Glacier Gardens in nearby Interstate Park (which the boys were wanting to do) or enjoy a hearty hike back at Wild River (which I would have enjoyed). But we made supper and then partook in a naturalist's talk on owls. Of course there was some marshmallow-roasting at our campfire that night along with a little star gazing.
Today we went the the Amador Apple Festival in the small town of Almelund, Minnesota (where we recently had the serendipitous discovery of a street named Wenell Lane). It was a nice small-town, community-oriented festival: food vendors (Swedish sausage on a stick, tacos in a bag, etc.), hand-made crafts, produce, and an assortment of apple-based products for sale. They were several historical buildings on site with displays as well as hands-on opportunities to live the past (making butter from cream, twisting twin into rope, harvesting prairie seeds). Old silent movies flickered on a wall in the barn; you could wait in line for a ride in a Model T as well. The boy got to try their first carmel apples (somehow they'd missed out on those--we've had apples with carmel dip, but not carmel apples).
It wouldn't have much mattered what we did. We had planned to have the weekend together as a family. It's beautiful fall weather, and while the trees haven't started turning much, we wanted to be outside for most of it. For us that means camping--or at least I personally like it when it means camping. It is good for our boys to be outside, to be active, to be with family and friends, and to be in God's presence. He is everywhere, but for me at least, He is much more noticeable outside. And I admit that I don't always take the time to note His presence, but I know that He and His creation leave their mark on my soul when I have been their presence. I hope that happens with my children as well.