“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s greatest flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.” – A River Runs Through It
I was paddling with several others on a “Watershed Moments” group paddle sponsored by the St. Croix River Association. It’s a great way to get to know the river and appreciate what a precious resource we have for recreation and natural beauty.
Our group gathered at Osceola Landing early in the evening from where we were shuttled to Interstate State Park at St. Croix Falls. There we met our National Park Service guides and were outfitted with kayaks, paddles, and life jackets. After a brief orientation on paddling safety and technique, we launched the kayaks and headed downstream.
Before long we reached the Lower Dalles area, where vertical cliffs rise out of the water on both sides of the river. Those walls of basalt were formed more than 10,000 years ago by meltwater from retreating glaciers. A humbling thought.
Our guides pointed out ancient pictographs faintly visible from our vantage point on the water. High in a white pine on top of the cliffs above us, an eagle watched us curiously. Maybe he was guarding the pictographs.
Further downstream we paddled into calm, serene backwaters created by the high water levels after recent rains. Lush, green, and silent, it seemed almost like a prehistoric world.
Herons, eagles, and turtles were abundant. Gurgling streams flowed down the hills into the backwater.
Before long we were back out on the main part of the river. As the Osceola Bridge and Landing came into view in the gathering dusk we paddled slowly – taking our time and savoring the moment. It was a good time to reflect and be grateful for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.
Get to know your river and sign up for a “Watershed Moments” Paddle Series – there are three more scheduled for July and August along different portions of the river.
View more photos at Will Goddard’s website.