Some of my best memories are of times my father took my sister and me camping. We wouldn’t go far off the beaten path. In fact, our location of choice was the Gull Lake Camp Ground, just west of Brainerd International Raceway. (We could hear the big boys all day, even miles away).
The point I’m trying to make is that even though we weren’t exactly “roughing it.” We were only a short drive away from any population, restaurants, hospitals, or help. Yet, we always had the proper safety equipment close by and followed common sense camp rules.
I talked with Dave W. who takes his kids camping on a more frequent basis and he shared a few things and tips that he uses for safety at his campsite.
- First Aid Kit – A well-stocked FAK should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain medicine, tweezers, safety pins, and an instruction manual. These are only the basic and you can fit yours out as full or bare as you like.
- Insect Repellent – This is more of a long-term safety item. The fewer insect bites you have to deal with, the better. A good repellent keeps mosquitos and ticks away while you’re out in the wild. However, remember to check for ticks after your activities in the woods, and before bed. Those little guys can get anywhere.
- A reliable source of water. – You can trek yours in, but that stuff is heavy! If you can’t bring yours in, you’ll have to rely on a local source. Make sure to boil any water you intend to drink for several minutes. A water filter is a good idea, as well.
- Keeping your food safe – You’ll want plenty of ice for temperature sensitive foods like uncooked meats (yummy hotdogs!), and dairy products. You can also try canned, dried, or fresh veggies and fruits for your trip. The last thing you want is to get sick while out in nature.
Dave is also a volunteer firefighter at Pequot Lakes, and he tells me that taking care of your fire is one of the best ways to keep forest fires from happening. He recommends the following.
Notice the rock ring. This helps keep the fire from spreading out.
Dousing the fire with water is a great way to extinguish your campfire.
Combined with the stir method, you’ll be practicing safe campfires etiquette in no time.
- Use a fire ring or rocks around a campfire. This can be part of the fun of a new campsite, building the fire circle. If you can’t find any rocks, clear the area of combustible material (needles, leaves, etc.) five feet in all directions around your fire area.
- The campfire itself should only be three feet or less in height. Keep it small, keep it manageable.
- Keep water and a shovel nearby. Also, it’s good practice to never leave a fire unattended. Sparks can fly when you’re least expecting it.
- When you’re done with your campfire, use the drown and stir method. Pour water on the coals and stir with a shovel or stick to make sure all embers are extinguished.
Wherever you decide to set up camp, you should be able to last the night with these few tips. If you have any ideas for camp safety, we would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below!
In recent years, campers can be seen headed out on adventures nearly any summer day, especially on weekends. For many people, the draw of a camper is being able to enjoy the tranquility of the great outdoors without giving up the comforts of home – you can literally bring the kitchen sink with you!
There are several different types of campers, so let’s start with a basic overview.
Pick-up campers are just that, a camper that sits on your pick-up truck. While there are a variety of styles, they generally include a double bed, a table that folds down into a single bed, a sink, and a small fridge. Great for one person, a couple, or even a small family. With the camper right on your truck, there’s no trailer to back up and your camper is always with you. On the downside, your camper is always with you. If you want to go out exploring for the day, it generally means packing up and securing everything in the camper so you can safely travel, and setting up again when you get back to your site.
Pop-up trailers, with their canvas sides over the beds, give you some of the feels of tent camping with the some of the luxuries of a camper. Most have storage space, a small stovetop, and can include a sink, fridge, and even a toilet. They’re not as big to pull as a travel trailer, but give you more space once they’re set up.
“In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness.” -Excerpt from The Wilderness Act of 1964
Wilderness camping is what camping is meant to be all about. You’re powered by the work of your own body; your luxuries are limited to what you’re able to carry yourself; you’re away from the hustle and bustle of society and large crowds; you rely on your own resourcefulness to get past bumps in your journey. This type of camping takes a bit more prep work – planning a route, planning your meals, packing the right equipment, and making sure you have a plan in case something goes wrong. Often, wilderness camping takes you out of cell service range, which can be a curse and a blessing all at one time. That inability to connect with the world at the touch of a button can give you a true “unplugged” vacation, allowing you to reach a whole new level of relaxation. At the same time, you need to be aware that if something did go wrong, you may not easily be able to get help. So planning for this type of trip is key to your success. That being said, this is in no way a comprehensive guide. If you’re new to wilderness camping, do some serious research about any trip you plan on taking. Think of this as a jumping off point.
This is our most timely episode of Turtle Talks! We talk about upcoming events in our area. The Sustainable Farming Association has their hand in three upcoming community events.
- The 9th Harvest Dinner Saturday, August 25. Historically, the big draw of this event, of course, is the food. However, this year the guest speakers will be Gulf Coast fisherman. They’ll be speaking about the hypoxia zone taking place where they work and live. It should be a fun evening.
- Farm2Families is an event taking place on ALSO on Saturday, August 25. This event is meant to help connect communities with their local growers. Music, lectures, and delicious food await those who attend this event. It’s FREE to attend, but a dinner plate prepared by Chef Peter Lowe can be purchased for $15/plate.
- Minnesota Salsa Fest is a great day that brings together those that love salsa. Music, demonstrations, salsa contest, and even salsa flavored ice cream. Tickets are only $5 at the door. If you think your salsa has what it takes to win, you can enter your batch into the contest for $10. Simply fill out the form found on their site.
We also talk Porketta, and more specifically, Iron-range Porketta. Allison found a recipe that looks absolutely delicious. Give it a shot and let us know how yours turned out.
On Friday, August 3rd, the Honor the Earth Riders made a stop on their journey west to east, trailing where a proposed oil pipeline is scheduled to be laid. With much delicious food and lots of uproarious music, the group made their stop on campus for their third straight year. You can find out more on their site, http://www.honorearth.org.
Honor the Earth is a group that brings awareness to the way water is used. They are currently dedicated to stopping any oil line going through their lands.
Kerri, from the Celtic duo Sister Tree, takes a moment to tune her fiddle before playing.
In my opinion, this is definitely the place to start. It can be done with relatively little investment (so you can decide if camping is for you before you go all in) and it can be done with relatively little risk (which can increase with wilderness camping). When I say car camping, I don’t mean sleeping in your car, although that is an option some people choose. I mean you drive your car and park it at your campsite, cabin, yurt, or other camp lodging option, allowing you to bring some luxuries along that wilderness camping does not.
Not exactly packing “light”
We’re talking about camping all this month here at HDT. It’s a great time to squeeze in that last minute camping trip with the family before the school year starts, a trip with your best pals, or a solo trip all by yourself! Whoever is involved, it’s one last time to relax in your hammock, lounge at the beach, get your heart beating on a hike, or hang around the campfire while enjoying the summer weather. Time in nature has a multitude of mental, physical and emotional health benefits. You can read all about them in our previous blog. But to sum it up, time in nature helps us hit the reset. It’s a chance to relax, unplug from our screens, clear our minds, analyze life’s challenges with a different perspective, and to appreciate all the natural beauty in the world around us.
“Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.”
– Sigurd Olson
For folks who are relatively new to the world of camping, it can be a little overwhelming as there are endless ways to camp! There are public campgrounds and private campgrounds; state parks, national parks, and regional parks; you could camp in a tent, RV, yurt, or cabin; you can get to your campsite by car, boat, bikes, horses, feet, and probably a few other ways I haven’t been creative enough to think of. Even once you decide what type of camping is for you, you have to decide where to go, what to bring, how to select your site, what safety precautions to consider, what you’re going to eat and how to keep yourself entertained once you’ve arrived. It’s all a lot to consider, but we’re going to try our best to walk you through it in this month’s blog posts! The first thing you have to decide is where you’re going to go. Continue reading
We love taking the time from planting, harvesting, weeding, and maintaining our garden and grounds to talk on camera. Sometimes, it’s a well-planned and methodical back and forth between speakers. Other times, like this episode, it’s a loosey-goosey and chaotic back and forth between speakers.
We discuss the current CSA shares, Colin gives parsley a try, we talk about the winter cover crops, and what we do with rabbits in our “rabbit-proof” garden. A real fun episode to make. Hope you enjoy.
2018 was designated the Year of the Bird by the National Audubon Society, so Birds of a Feather seemed like a natural theme for this year’s Eco Camp. With August now upon us, we have just one camp left. Our first three camps were a huge success and so much fun was had by all!
There are favorite activities that we do every year with each group. The week always starts with introductions, making name buttons, and tie-dying our themed t-shirts. This year, each group also made a version of the bird that was their mascot for the week to put up on our Eco Camp wall.
For the second year, we were able to take our three oldest groups to the lake! This was a great day with swimming, kayaking, yard games, and jumping off the dock. Each week ends with the campers’ family and friends gathering Friday afternoon to see what the kids have been doing all week. The campers turn into the counselors, with an opportunity to teach their families all about campus and the weeks’ activities!