Category Archives: Vacation

Anniversary Vacation to Maine

2021 became the year of vacation with trips to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Madeline Island, Rocky Mountain National Park, and corners of Minnesota. So it’s fitting that Abby and I finished the year with a belated 20th anniversary trip to Acadia National Park in Maine.

There’s something magical about winter, and with our anniversary in December we wanted to go somewhere that still felt like winter—not an escapist trip to the tropics. We finally settled on Maine as somewhere we’d never been to before that we could feasibly get to for a short trip.

On Monday we took a drive to the Schoodic Peninsula and found this frozen bay.
Continue reading Anniversary Vacation to Maine

Parktober: North & South Minnesota

I took two weekends in October for solo trips to Minnesota State Parks, first venturing to the far northern edge of the state and then going to the southwest corner. With apologies to a friend with a family tradition of state park trips in October, we’ll dub this my Parktober experience.

I’m a big fan of the fall—the changing colors, the crisp air, the lack of bugs. It’s a wonderous time to get outside and explore. I also like checking out parks I haven’t been to, trying to find something new and different. So this year I booked two separate trips to places I haven’t been before. In the process I probably tried to cram in more parks than I should have, but it’s hard to pass one up when you’re so close and might never get back there.

Continue reading Parktober: North & South Minnesota

Madeline Island Vacation

We took an abbreviated family vacation this year to Madeline Island and the larger Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The islands, featured in The Birchbark House series by Louise Erdrich, are something I’ve wanted to visit for a while. Unfortunately, the only way to really see the islands is from the water. We finally had a chance to do that on this trip, which was truly a trip of islands.

We had some cell phone mishaps on the way that required a detour to Duluth, but we did get to stop at Pattison State Park in Wisconsin for a couple of worthy waterfalls.

Continue reading Madeline Island Vacation

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

This week I took a solo trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the badlands of North Dakota. I’ve been to the more famous badlands of South Dakota several times, but I’d never been to the ones in North Dakota. They have the similar look of bleak, eroded buttes, but there’s more green in North Dakota. It’s an awe-inspiring landscape that sneaks up on you after the flat dullness of the prairie.

Along the Southern Petrified Forest hike.
Continue reading Theodore Roosevelt National Park

A Tour of Tragedy

This summer during my annual trip to Kansas to spend time with family, I took a trip of my own to Colorado. I have a hard time resisting the mountains, and this year I caved. But I took a detour on the way to out to visit two historical sites. It was a tour of tragedy.

Less than 50 miles apart in Eastern Colorado are the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site and the Granada Relocation Center, known as Camp Amache.

Continue reading A Tour of Tragedy

Minnesota State Park Adventuring

Throughout most of the fall I’ve been spending weekends heading out to Minnesota’s state parks.

Nature With the Kids

It started after a summer vacation I took with the kids to South Dakota, Colorado, and Kansas. We took in lots of nature: the Badlands, the Black Hills, and Rocky Mountain National Park.

But watching over two kids by myself (until Colorado when I joined my parents), I didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy the nature. There wasn’t a lot of quiet. Or patience.  Or peace.

At one point in Colorado, after climbing across rocks in the river rapids with my kids, I sat down in a chair along the shore and put my feet up.

A moment later, Milo fell into the river. Continue reading Minnesota State Park Adventuring

Synchronous Vacation Photos

I love seeing photos that are near reflections of each other. I don’t know what to call this—synchronicity, mirror images, whatever. There has to be a better way to describe them. But I love them.

While on vacation this year I managed to add a new chapter to several such photos:

1986: Me, my brother, and my dad (Grand Lake, I think)
Hendricks Boys 1986 (Rocky Mountain National Park Style)

2002: Me and my wife (Estes Park)
Kevin & Abby with the RMNP Sign

2014: My wife and I (Grand Lake)
Rocky Mountain National Park West Gate

2017: Milo, Lexi and me.
Rocky Mountain National Park

Continue reading Synchronous Vacation Photos

2017 Solar Eclipse: My Perspective in Geneva, Nebraska

On Aug. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse passed across the continental United States. The last solar eclipse in the U.S. was in 1979 (the year I was born), and the last one that went through the middle of the country was 1918.

It’s not quite a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it’s pretty close. We’ve got a string of upcoming total solar eclipses in the U.S. in 2024 and again in 2045 (and one in 2099 that will go across Minnesota, if you plan to still be around then). You can certainly travel the world to chase down eclipses, but it’s still a pretty rare event.

Monday’s total eclipse lasted a total of two minutes and thirty seconds, so it’s definitely a short-lived moment.

Last summer I read Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass and learned about the wonders of a total solar eclipse. So I planned my summer vacation with the kids around this event, knowing it would be worth the effort.

And it totally was.

This is just before totality. You can’t tell from the picture, but the light is starting to get weird:

2017 Solar Eclipse

This is during totality. The sky looks bright in the background, but it’s twilight. The kids are freaking out. Lexi: “Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod!” Milo: “Oh my freakin’ Thor!”

Untitled

A glimpse of the sun in full eclipse:

Untitled

This is immediately after totality ended:

Untitled

Yep, worth it.

Continue reading 2017 Solar Eclipse: My Perspective in Geneva, Nebraska

The Legacy & Quiet of Muir Woods

Last week my wife and I went on vacation to San Francisco. We were there to catch a U2 concert, which was amazing. We also took in lots of other sights. But my favorite—no big surprise—was Muir Woods.

It’s an incredible place filled with 500-year old trees that tower more than 350 feet above the quiet forest floor.

Muir Woods Continue reading The Legacy & Quiet of Muir Woods