I started on 14 Sept on this trip and as I had every intention of keeping a daily log of my trip that soon went right out the window. Below is the first attempt to write.
“The morning and this slow paced trip is the start down the Great River Road. This is a stop at one of the sources of the Mississippi River located at Banning State Park in Pine County, Minnesota. The river is the Kettle River, a National wild and scenic river that feeds into the St Croix and then finally into the Mississippi.
This early morning, with the last two days of rain, the river is running high and fast.
As I step out of the car at the canoe launch just 1.5 miles North of the Class I to Class IV rapids, I take a deep breath. The air is fresh clean, and a mist hovers just over the river. I can hear the rumble of the rapids and the birds in the trees right where I stand.
Here at the landing the water is calm. Signs warn of the rapids to signal canoes that they exist just ahead. I look down river and the fall colors are just starting to show in the trees. Yellow, bright reds mixed in with the greens and the smell of earth.
I pick the trail next to the river. In the summer months this is the same trail that people take to follow the kayakers or canoe paddlers as they make their way towards the “Hell’s Gate” rapids. Today, I am the only soul alone here with the sounds of the river. Suddenly, my eye catches a movement.off to my left and just in time to see that my presence disturbed a bald eagle from his fishing perch on the otherwise of the river.
I reach a place along the trail where the flat rocks reach out into the river from the waters edge. A perfect place to sit, watch the river as it turns from calm into violent rapids as it paves a path towards the Mississippi River.
I will see these waters again as I follow it towards St Louis.
How can I take a canoe down these rapids?
How many people have used this river over the centuries to carry items up and down the river?”
So the day started with this wonderful experience and on the road again I headed towards my next destination William O’Brien State Park on the St Croix River.
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