Whitewater State Park – southeastern Minnesota – No mosquitoes, no cell service and no wifi. But I have Tony so all is good. We came down here for a short little getaway.
Even though I am reluctant to make reservations, if you wish to stay in a Minnesota state park in the summer, you had better make one. I suppose it is because the summer camping season is so short and people are so anxious to get out and about. I lucked out in that I found probably one of the better sites available from Tuesday thru Thursday. Unaccustomed as I am to making reservations, I actually made the reservation thru Friday and then proceeded to set up a whole bunch of Friday appointments back home. Focus is perhaps a little weak at times. Luckily, the campground folk were understanding and refunded my money for Thursday night.
Tuesday, when we arrived was lovely. We set up our lawn chairs and just zoned out staring at all the mosquito free greenery. It is a real treat to be someplace in Minnesota in the summer without mosquitoes. They say it is because there is no standing water in the area, it is all moving streams and rivers.
Wednesday, it was supposed to rain but after a good soaking in the morning, it stopped raining. We decided that we would do the Chimney Rock hike. It was over 100 steps to reach the top of the bluffs. It was pretty steep but really lovely. When we get to the top of all of these steps, there is a map. I look at it and figure out which way I am supposed to go to get to Chimney Rock. Tony, knowing how map challenged I am chooses to sit on the conveniently placed bench and wait for my return. Clever man as I, of course, picked the wrong way. If I had gone left, Chimney Rock was maybe a five minute walk. I went right and walked for about a half hour before I decided that I was perhaps going the wrong way. It was really a pretty walk, there were several outstanding views over the river valley, but because of the rain, there was also a lot of slick mud. I'm really grateful that I had my walking stick. I never did get to see Chimney Rock, only the most popular sight to see at Whitewater. Oh well.
When we get back to the campsite, it starts to rain. My phone goes off with severe thunderstorm warnings. Ok, fine – but then the phone tells me we have a tornado warning also. It is pouring down rain. We decide we should maybe head for shelter in the campground shower house. As we are heading over there, a ranger drives up and tells us we need to evacuate. When we get to the shower house, I decide that we should go into the Women's side, the reasoning that it would probably be cleaner. I guess I was basing that on past experiences. Later on, we talked to some people who were in the Men's side of the shower house. His reasoning was that the southwest corner of a building is supposed to be the safest place to be in a tornado. Guess who had a more valid reason for which side to choose. Fun Fact: Southwest corner safety is a myth – no part of a building is safer than another during a tornado – staying away from windows is the key. We were in the shower house for about an hour and a half and eventually walked back to the campsite all safe and sound.
|Miko, of course, chose the safest place to be|
Later that night, we found that we were parked in the middle of a lake. Seriously, the water around the RV was above my ankles. My door mat was floating several feet away. By the next morning, most of the water had drained away but it was muddy. Since we were leaving that day, we decided to do a short hike around a meadow. Pleasant enough except for the parts where there was still standing water and we had to trail blaze around the little lakes on the trail.
|Yes, the mat is floating|
Since I had no cell service, when we left the park, I could not use my stand by travel assistant – Google Maps. We ended up going along some of the smaller highways, which I thoroughly enjoyed. These roads are always much more entertaining than the big interstates.
I would love to go back to Whitewater – maybe actually see Chimney Rock and do some more hiking. There were some new experiences and I got to share them with Tony. I'm not sure being evacuated to the shower house because of a tornado is something that will make him want to continue this camping adventure, but I guess it was a unique way to spend the night.