Saturday, August 9, 2014

Up the river without a paddle(wheeler)

We (family, not editorial) spent a good part of mid-day today at and in the St. Croix River. Nominally, we were fishing. My Better Half took the skunk off by catching (and releasing) a mooneye (actually, two mooneyes). I avoided falling in or loosing anything. Fishing on the upper half of the lower St. Croix on a warm August Saturday means dodging a bazillion or more canoeists. The same stretch of the river shown below could have just about been crossed today by jumping from canoe to kayak. Of course, not all that many years ago, there wouldn't have been any paddlers during the log drives, but they were mostly in the Spring. Canoeing is less of an all-consuming use of the water than logging, I'll readily admit.

early season canoeists, St Croix River
Photo by J. Harrington

All the canoe traffic, many of whom seemed to have been exposed to but perhaps had not mastered canoeing fundamentals, made me wonder how they and the paddlewheelers avoid conflicts and crashes. I may try to look into that question some day. This shot below is of about the same section that today was bank to bank full of canoeists and kayakers.

"paddlewheeler," St Croix River
Photo by J. Harrington

I've been on the Mississippi in St. Paul in a 14 foot Lund outboard and had to dodge a small barge tow. That was more exciting than I enjoy. Maybe the paddlewheelers don't run on the weekend when most canoeists are paddling? As our friends at WCCO say: Good Question. Maybe I'll submit it or just ask the toad.

Said the Toad

By J. Patrick Lewis 

I was really in a muddle
looking over a mud puddle
'cause I didn't have a paddle
or a twig to ride the reef.
But I said, Oh, fiddle-faddle,
this is just a little piddle
of a second fiddle puddle
so I saddled up a leaf.
I set sail on the puddle,
but I reached the muddy middle
and I rocked the leaf a little,
then I gave it all I had.
And I solved the mighty riddle
of the whole caboodle puddle
when I hopped up on the middle
of a beetle launching pad.


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