Vogt's Notes: A weekend outdoors refreshes heart, soul and mind

Get outside and enjoy before shorter days and cold arrives

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Showers and parties and weddings - oh my!

With three family weddings this summer and fall, I warned my husband that we might not get in as much fishing, camping and four-wheeling as we’d like this year.

My motto has always been: Family first. We’d just have to accept that we’d have to skip some of our favorite annual summer and fall trips and activities.

And so our summer has been filled with awesome family time that’s included three bridal showers, one wedding and one bachelorette party - so far.

Moms and future moms-in-law are sometimes invited to bachelorette parties these days, and they’re weekend affairs rather than just one night. That’s something I wasn’t quite sure about, but my daughter’s event was a lot of fun and I’m glad she was totally fine with a couple of us older women attending. My husband will attend the bachelor party for the groom - our soon-to-be son-in-law - this coming weekend.


We’ve also fit in one family reunion weekend and a baby shower for friends we consider family, as well as a few weekends at the cabin.

I’ve labeled this as a summer where we work hard all week so we can play hard every weekend.

Last weekend, plans to have family come stay with us for an annual memorial fishing tournament fell through. Everyone has just been too busy and needed a weekend to catch up at home and save money.

So on a last-minute whim, my husband and I packed the tent, hooked up the boat and went camping.

I can’t even begin to express what this outdoor excursion did for us.

In typical fashion for us, we didn’t reserve a campsite. We just headed north to Lake Winnibigoshish, which has become a favorite for us in both summer and winter. The first national forest campground we whirled through was full. Of course. That’s not the first time this has happened.

We headed to the next campground, where we found plenty of open campsites. We chose a nice, roomy site. The night was cool and we slept soundly in the tent burrowed under blankets.


A beautiful day on Lake Winnibigoshish on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

Saturday was hotter than I expected and after a leisurely morning at our campsite we spent the day on the lake. It was windy, so we stuck to Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake. We fished, but not very seriously. Later in the day we did venture out on Lake Winnie. I can't believe this was my first time in our boat this summer.

It was so peaceful and purely relaxing to be outside in the sun and wind on the lake on a gorgeous day.

We agreed it was the perfect day and - surprisingly - one we both realized we needed.

Readers, have you been looking at our e-edition Nation Plus pages online every day? If not, I strongly encourage you to check them out at and click the yellow “E-Paper” button. On Thursdays, a series titled Minnesota’s Backyard features a different state park each week. I’d love to visit every one I’ve read about.

When you click through to our e-paper, click on the three horizontal lines on the far right at the top of the page to find our archives. Then just click on any Thursday e-editions in any month to look back at the parks featured.

As summer starts its slide into fall, and as the days become shorter with darkness creeping earlier and earlier, I encourage everyone to take time to enjoy the outdoors in any way you can. All too soon we’ll mostly be stuck inside again.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at


Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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