The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Moose Lake, Agate Days

Moments after the trucks dropped their loads , the anticipation builds!
 Just north of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St Paul) is the self-proclaimed, undisputed, Lake Superior Agate Capital of the World ! The city of Moose Lake celebrates this with the annual "Agate Days". The main event during the festival is the Agate Stampede. The idea is simple, take two dump trucks filled with gravel and mix in four hundred pounds of agates and $400.00  of quarters and spread it along two blocks of the town's main street. At precisely 2pm a cannon is shot off and the stampede begins, everyone rushes to the street keeps what they find. This was the first time I have witnessed the rampage myself, it was awesome! The boys and I each got our hands on several of the stone beauties in the midst of the frenzy. Within minutes the crowd started to disperse as the gravel was nearly picked clean of the multi-lined gemstones. The scene was like watching a pack of hyenas, savagely devouring a carcass and leaving nothing but scraps for the remaining scavengers. After the stampede we headed over to the Gem Show at the high school, there were lots agates on display, and for sale. Alongside of massive 4-5 pounders', I have only dreamed of finding, were hideous abominations, hand crafted to highlight the true beauty of the Lake Superior Agate. These were items such as... clear glass ash trays and bowls with agates epoxied to the inside surface. Judging by the yellowing of the epoxy in which the stones are entombed, and the thick layer of dust encrusting the surface, these items have traveled the Gem Show circuit for a long time and will remain unsold until just the right tasteless buyer comes along with money to burn. Other items included horrible, tacky, renditions of wildlife or flowers, in which agates and bits of wire are glued to colored cardboard in meticulous detail and placed in a frame so one can marvel at the beauty.They were something only a slum lord could appreciate. The boys however, managed to get their hands on some nice polished stones at a fair price to add to their collections.  
We need more boats.

Like father, like son.

It's good see kids wearing their helmets while riding.

Don't ask

Randy is swimming in this........ yuck
Before the stampede, on Friday night, Lynn, the boys, and myself, pulled into Wicklunds Campground, a mile down the road from Moose Lake State Park, which is nearly impossible to get a site at, due to it's small size and popularity. Wicklunds is a private campground owned and operated by a really cool guy named Duane. The camp ground is located on a secluded lake perfect for swimming, fishing, and kayaking.   Later in the evening my mom and her boyfriend Randy showed up. The next day the rest of the clan arrived, this included, Aunt/Uncle.. Becky/Craig, daughter Ruby  Diana/Ken, great grandson Pierce. Cousin Renee and Dean, kids Sidney, Mitchel,Luke. and none other than the Chuker and his three boys. Game On !
Ready for action!

All these people trying to find a pretty rock

Super "Y" got a big one

Look who I found in the gravel.

 Before and after the stampede, everyone had fun fishing, swimming, kayaking, eating, frog catching, snacking, napping, agate hunting, and relaxing. Randy and Chuk removed no less then forty fish form the hooks of the young fishermen's poles. Their hands will continue to smell of fish into next week. All but a couple people enjoyed the four kayaks that Lynn and I brought along, the neighboring kids in the camp also had their turn in the boats. Super "Y",and "G" man, occupied much of their time frog hunting. Fortunately for "Y" the frogs don't bite and he has recovered well from his run-in with a squirrel a couple weeks ago. Big "D" could not be removed from his life jacket most of the weekend and is becoming part frog as he spent hours in the water swimming, kayaking and instigating splash-fights.

This weekend was set up as an effort to get out camping with my extended family, it's been three years now, and has been a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to next year, and at the same time thinking we should do it again this coming fall.  

Mitchel........Yo, Babe Winkelman, who you callin' a punk ?

Someone get this thing off of here !

Uncle Craig,   cookin' old skool

The Chuker, finally sitting down after the kids stop fishing........................ for a second

Randy tries desperately to keep all the lines from tangling, as Chuk and Lynn look on.

Giant Frog

This is the first Bull Frog "G" man has ever caught. I didn't know we grew them that big here in Minnesota. That was a very impressive frog.

Ending Saturday night with a campfire and s'mores


  1. Did you grill up them frog legs?

    1. no way, I have too much respect for a beast of that size. The frogs also look like they are smiling at you which would make it even tougher to eat.

  2. I'm sure you're out enjoying our heatwave!! (Finally) I have a question about using a few of your photos. Could you please email me?