Yurting. Ever heard of it? Maybe you haven't? Maybe I made that word up. Well, yurting is kind of magical and probably something you should look into.
So I love the outdoors. Pretty much everyone knows that about me. What most assume about people who love the outdoors is that they go camping a lot and like sleeping outside. Spoiler alert. That's not me.
Growing up in rural/farming community Minnesota, most people just didn't camp (not speaking for everyone, obviously). We didn't crave a huge getaways to pretend we were one with nature, because being outside wasn't a big deal. Nature was pretty easy to access and was definitely taken for granted. Even If you lived in town, you probably still spent most of your summer days outside and slept inside at night.
"You have a house. Sleep in it." -Laura's great-grandmother, Minne
When I heard about the installation of new yurts (see photos) at Minnesota State Parks, it seemed like camping for total beginners/people who like to be clean. Hey! I can do this! I bet my friends Laura and David who grew up with me rural Minnesota and maybe my husband, a former Malaysian boy scout, would be into it.
The former boy scout took a bit of convincing. I booked the yurt anyway, determined that I'd go by myself if all else failed. PRO TIP. Do you want to go yurting at an MN State Park? Start booking it at least four months in advance! They go FAST.
In the week leading up to the actual yurt adventure, I had so many questions.
"What do people do at night when they camp?" (Drink. Not sure if alcohol is actually allowed.)
"Wait... how do you cook? You just put the skillet on the fire?" (No, you don't, there's a grill.)
"How do you actually start a fire?" (Let the scout boy handle it.)
"Do I need a sleeping bag even though it's going to be 70 degrees?" (No, that's too damn hot.)
With every inch of the Subaru packed for our not even 24-hour stay, the four of us made our 30 minute drive from St. Paul to Afton. After getting my state park patch and the key to the yurt, I was totally ready for this camping thing to happen. Hands and arms full of food and clothes that could have probably lasted us for at least three days, we made our way to the Coyote yurt and were pretty amazed with the digs.
Cool. This isn't going to suck.
After unloading our stuff and securing our food, we poured ourselves some drinks and fielded questions from our parents about what yurting was. "Is it an overnight thing?", "Where are you again?", "What are you going to eat for dinner?"
Questions answered, initial drinks finished, practice round of cards played, we figured we should do some actual hiking/outdoors things. "Let's go see the swimming beach" sounded like a great idea. It was an okay idea. The beach was anti-climactic and we sustained many bug bites hiking through the wooded forest. See more photos of Afton and our hike here.
Pan Fried Fish Sauce Chicken Wings with Shishito Peppers
Spring Roll Bowl with Sweet Garlic Lime Sauce
Salted Nut Roll Bars
See more awesome cooking photos here.
As the sun slowly set, we just took our time. Something that seems harder to do every year as we get older together. No one had to drive or get home because they had to do that thing in the morning.
It's so cliche, but true- we all get wrapped up in work and life things, it's hard to slow down and appreciate just being friends and growing older together.
Take those adventures.
Enjoy your friends.
Try yurting and report back!