Colombian Invasion

For the fifth year in a row I am involved with a group of Colombian kids and their coaches as they prepare for the Schwann’s USA Cup in Blaine Minnesota. They arrived last Tuesday and traveled to Duluth to spend several days experiencing the North Shore of Lake Superior after spending their mornings practicing for the tourament. They were able to enjoy a cookout and potluck picnic, followed by friendly games against the local soccer club. On Thursday and Friday they participated in bike riding in Carlton and water sports at the mouth of the Lester River. Friday evening included a grilled chicken dinner at Jay Cooke State Park and then ice skating. Saturday had them traveling to Gooseberry Falls State Park for hiking, swimming and another picnic dinner. Sunday morning they boarded the bus to go to Blaine and begin preparations for the USA Cup. They will play hard, but they will also have fun. They will go to Valleyfair, a Twins game and a dinner cruise on the St. Croix river before flying home next week.
This morning is my quiet break before I have to prepare the cooking I will do this week, the photography of the games and other duties I do while the group is here. As busy as it keeps me and as much as I work very hard these two weeks, I really enjoy the time they are here and the opportunity to practice my Spanish.

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If Travel Leads To A Travelogue…

…Does A Kayak Trip Lead To A Water-logue?

I’m sure there are many ways that Americans celebrated the Fourth of July, and most probably ended with a fireworks display. This year, I chose to spend the Fourth enjoying the freedom of the outdoors, being on or near water, taking a short hike and reveling in the freedom of nature.
The day began with my wife and I loading our kayaks on the car and heading up the shore of Lake Superior to the Knife River Marina. We launched and headed on one of Lake Superior’s perfect days, calm water, ideal temperature and a light fog that had not quite burned off the lake. We first turned our attention on a small island that was shrouded in the fog, giving it a sense of mystery, which of course meant we had to go explore. As we approached we were serenaded by hundreds of shrieking gulls that were not happy that we were blessing them with our visit. After circumnavigating the island, we then headed southwest along the shore toward Stoney Point, about two miles down the lake. Had a bit of a chuckle as we surprised a young couple camping on a beach and were sunbathing nude. After arriving at Stoney Point, we turned our kayaks back up the shore and headed for the Knife River. We encountered a bit of a challenge as we entered the mouth of the river, but then it was an easy paddle until we could go no further due to rocks and shallow water so we turned and paddled back to the marina, ending out day on Lake Superior.
Our next stop was Jay Cooke State Park. Neither of us had been to the park since the new swing bridge had opened, (the previous one was destroyed in the flood of 2012) and we had hoped to hike the trails, but were thwarted by the threat of a thunderstorm. We did take the opportunity to see the new bridge that allows access to the picnic area at Oldenberg overlook and we are excited to know that the remainder of the highway that is currently closed will be rebuilt in the coming couple of years.
Oh yes, I almost forgot, I took pictures and shot video of the day. I am posting the photos from the kayaking portion of the trip and will be working on a video to be uploaded later.