St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rambling the River Road as January Ends

Friday morning, got up early, pretty blah-ed with the winter, and headed to St Croix Falls before the rest of the family was out to do a little shopping and have my usual  senior coffee and two sausage burritos at McDonalds ($2.66).  It was a beautiful morning sunrise on the way and I found a window seat to enjoy it even in town.  

After getting a few groceries and a micro-SD chip for my camera, I dawdled my way up the St Croix River Road, doing my inspection of the finished Taylors Falls flood wall and noticing the water is back up again -- maybe not quite all the way, but after the 8 foot drop last fall, it appears to be closer to normal now.    Some photos along the way.  

Water rising along the dam area and retaining wall

The water is part way up the dam splash boards
At the Lion's Park north of St Croix Falls, the rising water seems to have come up along the river edges and although the center is still ice, both sides appear to be open or at least flooded

Up river along the River Road a sandbar shows the water has risen with ice floating up too. 

25 trumpeter swans at Spangler's landing with about 20 feet wide open water from the bank to the river.  It was open along the Wisconsin side most of the way to Nevers Dam, and appeared to be open on the MN edge too.  As I drove north, I could see the river here and there along the way and counted at least 50 trumpeters.  Since most of the way was behind trees, I will guess there were another 50 I didn't see.  They seemed to be enjoying themselves and still in family groups -- the parents and their gray offspring. 

According to internet sites, Trumpeter Swans prefer to stay in their nesting areas, migrating only as far away as open water and food are available.  We see them at Hudson, Stillwater, and around here where there is open water all winter.  

At Nevers, there is some open water, but when I stopped, no birds swimming.  The steep lower hill driveway was strewn with dead brush and twigs from someone getting stuck below and needing a little traction to get up.  I didn't try driving down with my 2-wheel drive car.  

The river looked higher up here--maybe back to normal again. 

     Watching the swans swimming along the river, honking to each other sort of cheered me up a little.  Nice to see some other animals sticking out the winter and looking like they were enjoying it.