More musings on the Mississippi River
December 15, 2014 by Janette Law
A couple of weeks ago, Tom Evers wrote about his experience paddling the Mississippi in mid-October – a member of our first staff development “retreat.”
As I write this post today, in mid-December, the weather is (incredibly!) nearly identical to that day two months ago, so it seemed fitting to revisit our experience – this time through the eyes of our other three team members.
We’d love to hear from you, too. What experiences have you had on the Mississippi River?
Kayaking on the Mississippi in late October with high in the mid-40’s! What sounded a bit daunting early that morning turned out to be a wonderfully unique experience. As Bob (the owner of Above the Falls Sports) said, every time you paddle the river it’s a different experience – no matter the season.
Two things stand out for me. The first is a giant heron rookery we saw in a stand of leaf-less trees. We counted 75 nests, but sadly no herons. These nests, covering the top branches of the trees and silhouetted against the sky, looked like an abstract photo. And, it was a sight we never would have seen had there been leaves on the trees. The second, is how uniquely tied the two banks of the river are. We often think of them separately, but when you are on the river you realize that it’s like looking across a street at your neighbor’s house. What’s on one side of the river affects what’s on the other side.
I can’t wait to do another trip –but I might plan it for warmer weather.
Growing up going “up North” did not give our family a lot of time to experience the amazing river right in our own backyard. Our “Above the Falls” trip gave me a new appreciation and understanding of a Minnesota asset that is too often overlooked.
But like all excursions on water, the minute you push off from shore you get that same wonderful sense of being right where you belong – home.
I’ve spent a lot of time on the Mississippi River and even been on this stretch of the upper river a time or two. It’s always a sensory experience, but on this trip the sounds made a particular impression on me. Because it was late fall and the leaves were off the trees, the noise of the city was noticeable: Traffic on Interstate 94, which runs parallel to this stretch of the river and cuts off North Minneapolis from it; the sound of heavy industry hard at work before the barge season – the last ever up here – closes with the coming winter. My favorite part of the trip was when we paddled the channel between Nicollet Island and the East Bank – it was quiet, secluded, more natural. There, it’s hard to believe that you’re paddling through the state’s most populous city.