Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cold Camping on the Iron Range

Last week, my children and I went ventured to Northern Minnesota and went winter camping at Savanna Portage State Park. Having had friends from across the states, many would think we were insane. Truth be told, many here thought we were crazy--maybe even a little of ourselves did. However crazy it sounds, we went.

The days weren't too bad at about 38 degrees Fahrenheit; even the nights only went down to about 27. While the temps may sound cool to non-Minnesotans, they really were not horrible. I felt a tad guilty calling it "winter" camping when it was that warm. It was truly spring camping, though we had plenty of snow on the ground surrounding the camping pad that had been plowed clear. We used several layers of blankets under and over our bags and slept fully covered. The worst part was getting out in the morning.

While we were there, we did an oral interview with an old miner and went to Ironworld. Ironworld, since renamed the Minnesota Discovery Center, is a cute museum in Chisholm which is dedicated to the history of mining on the Iron range of Northern Minnesota. We also did a small hike, though that was kept short because of the snow. Walking in snow is kind of like walking in sand--it takes a lot of work!

My kids learned more about mining, saw some incredible sights and realized that they are survivors. I think it was an wonderful experience that built both their understanding of our history and of their inner strengths. I loved it!