Esther and Chester Lake: Camping in Northern Minnesota

Holy Hannah, am I over due for a post or what?!  I guess you could say that summers back in Minnesota with friends and family are a little busy :)

A few weeks ago I wrote an entry on J.O and I fulfilling one of our “must-dos” while in Minnesota: going to a St. Paul Saints game.  (Read that post by clicking HERE) In that post, I mentioned a few other must do items for us while in our home state and one of them was camping up by in Northern Minnesota.  Two weeks ago, we were able to do just that.

Camping up along the arrowhead trail in Northern Minnesota is something I was introduced to when J.O and I first started dating.  He has been going up to the area since he was little with his family and has always loved it.  In the past 10 years we have gone on many camping trips up here, but when we sat down to remember the last time we had been, we sadly realized it had been over 4 years.  It was time for a trip.  No questions asked.

We headed up to our beloved camping area, Esther Lake, on a Thursday afternoon.  Esther Lake is off the Arrowhead Trail. It is a part of the Grand Portage State Forest and a hop skip and a jump from the Canadian border.  In other words, I’m not joking when I say is up North! No cell phone signal, no electronics, 30 min from the closest town, and never too much other human interaction. The drive takes about 6 hours and when we rolled into our campsite (which is first come first serve) at 9pm, the thunderclouds were rolling in at our heels.  We had borrowed my brothers tent for the weekend and although we were unfamiliar with his tents setup, we quickly learned in the dark as the storm grew nearer.  That first night, J.O, long dog and myself had a bit of a lightening show and got a little wet, but we all snuggled in close and managed to get some sleep.

The next day we woke to blue skies and both of Minnesota’s state birds there to greet us.  I.E, a lovely pair of loons and a lot of misquotes.  In case you didn’t know, the misquote is the unofficial Minnesota state bird. :)  We finished setting up camp, assembled J.O’s Dad’s and Step-Moms tent (they would be joining us later), laid things out to dry in the sun and then set out to catch some trout.  Esther Lake is a designated trout lake, so we had high hopes for eating more than just hot dogs and burgers all weekend.

J.O’s dad and step-mom joined us that afternoon.  For the rest of the weekend we all enjoyed each others company while cooking, sitting around the campfire, fishing on the point or in the canoe.

We packed up and headed back down to the cities on Sunday Morning.  Even though we only caught one fish (first time that’s every happened to us, we usually catch our limit!) it was time to head home.  Weekends up there always make me happy for the main reason J.O get such pure joy from being up there.  I love watching him be completely free from everything else in the world. He left relaxed and rejuvenated for the upcoming work week and I left with my heart full because of that.

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Sunset on Esther Lake

Sunset on Esther Lake

Love my Koozie from

Love my Koozie from

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Esther and Chester Lake: Camping in Northern Minnesota — 1 Comment

  1. We hope to get a campsite at the Esther Lake Campground or McFarland Lake Campground next weekend. Hope we find an open site. Thank you for your post and great pictures. Just think, that post was 4 years ago again now! Time does fly.

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