Posts Tagged ‘Rivers’

Wild & Scenic

November 14, 2009

Manchas enjoys a swim in the Chetco River of Alfred Loeb State Park in Oregon. This river is designated a national “Wild & Scenic” river with the intent of keeping it free-flowing. Portions of the St. Croix River in Minnesota/Wisconsin share the same protection.

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Congress declares that the established national policy of dams and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes. (Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968)

What a Rush!

January 26, 2009

Beginning of the trip. I'm in the front with the dark glasses and H is right behind me.

The most exhilarating, fun experience I’ve ever had was whitewater rafting. A couple of years ago H and I entrusted our lives to a guide from Wild Water Adventures near Banff, Alberta, Canada. The trip took us 20 km down the Kicking Horse River in an hour and a half. We wore wetsuits, polar fleece jackets, raincoats, neoprene booties, and helmets. I learned firsthand that wetsuits don’t keep you dry (that’s what drysuits are for).

Our self-bailing raft (water escapes through holes on the floor) would disappear into huge swells and the water would come crashing over the top of us. At 4°C (39°F) the glacier-fed river was quite refreshing and took my breath away. With each wave I could feel the icy water rush down my back and I was totally soaked in no time. I wonder if the water temperature had anything to do with the level of excitement?

We did several Class IV rapids, which is the highest level that a commercial trip can attempt. Class IV rapids can be described as erratic waves or holes. Large obstructions need to be avoided. Risk of injury if swimming. Very difficult.

Dangerous? Yes. But what a rush!

I started the adventure in the front of the boat. Half-way through the trip we rotated positions. I can tell you that the front position is the most fun and exciting place to sit! However, you will bear the brunt of the waves.

I have a hard time understanding the desire to sky-dive, rock-climb, and bungee-jump. But I do understand the call of white water.

Grand Canyon Adventure

January 9, 2009

Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk is a new giant-screen film that takes you on a rafting trip down the Colorado River, showing off the beauty of the Grand Canyon and the excitement of the river, all with an environmentalist twist. The most thrilling moments of the movie reminded me of my own whitewater adventure, which I will blog about soon.

Grand Canyon Adventure shows daily at the Science Museum of Minnesota‘s Omnitheater now through June 11, 2009.

Black & White in the Everglades

November 24, 2008

We were surrounded by dozens of prehistoric creatures. I was struck by their color—black. They were well camouflaged, swimming through the dark waters of the canal. Then the boat sped forward and an enormous white creature appeared from nowhere. It spread its wings and took to the air in front of us. The most beautiful creature in the Everglades—the Great White Heron—shares its home with the alligator.

Tidbits of Minnesota State Parks

November 16, 2008

Some of the best things about each of the Minnesota State Parks that I have visited…

Afton

Get a workout hiking the rolling hills of this nearby state park.

Banning

Seeing remnants of the sandstone quarries makes hiking through this park especially interesting, as if the wild and crazy Kettle River wasn’t enough.

Beaver Creek Valley

This lush, green park in bluff country has fly fishing opportunities.

Picnic area at Cascade River State Park

Picnic area at Cascade River State Park

Cascade River

I love the isolated picnic area nestled among the cedar trees on the shores of Lake Superior. It’s a great place to relax for hours, gazing at this ocean-like lake.

Fort Snelling

The Mississippi and Minnesota rivers meet in this metro area nature retreat.

Bird blind at Glendalough State Park

Observation blind at Glendalough

Glendalough

Although I didn’t spot any wildlife, I think it’s cool that the park has observation blinds.

Gooseberry Falls

Walking amidst the waterfalls is great fun!

Interstate

This is the place to see potholes galore and learn about glaciers. It’s worth a trip over to the Wisconsin side too.

Lake Itasca

Lake Itasca

Itasca

I love canoeing with the loons on peaceful Lake Itasca. My favorite kind of lake is long and narrow, so Lake Itasca fits the bill with three separate “arms”. The giant red and white pines are the signature of this park.

The massive, rugged rocks of the St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park

Jay Cooke State Park

Jay Cooke

The massive, rugged rocks in the St. Louis River are a memorable site from the swinging bridge.

Minneopa

The double waterfall is the draw to this park, but I really enjoyed walking through the oak savanna littered with big boulders.

St. Croix

This is an all-around great park with 2 rivers and lots of trails.

Sakatah Singing Trail

Sakatah Singing Hills Trail

Sakatah Lake

Biking or walking the tunnel of trees of the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail is very pleasant. We also saw wild turkeys in the park.

Red pines at Scenic State Park

Red pines at Scenic State Park

Scenic

This park has the beauty of Itasca without the crowds. Hiking the Chase Point Trail along the high narrow peninsula is awesome if you love red pine and cedar, like me.

Split Rock Lighthouse

The lighthouse in the distance with birch trees in the foreground is a picture-perfect scene.

Temperance River

If you’re visiting the North Shore it’s worth stopping to hike along the river gorge and enjoy the many waterfalls.

Tettagouche State Park

Tettegouche State Park

Tettegouche

This park offers beautiful trails high on the rocky cliffs overlooking Lake Superior. I can’t imagine any better vistas of Lake Superior.

Whitewater

Believe it or not, there are no mosquitoes here in the middle of summer!

Wild River

Cross-country skiing is lots of fun here.

William O’Brien

On a hot summer day there’s nothing better than canoeing the St. Croix and stopping at a sandbar on or near Greenberg Island. My dog thought that running and jumping through the ankle-deep, warm water was pure joy, and I would have to agree!