Whitewater statepark is an annual Rovers trip, but me thinks we are the first ones to run the river that gives the park its name! Thanks Cathy H for pioneering that one! Important first thing to mention is, that the name Whitewater is just a tat misleading when you expect rapids: the name comes from the limestone turning the water white and is a translation of an Indian name. The river is narrow and meandering, so it takes some maneuvering also to get around fallen tree strainers, but it's otherwise flat and gentle. Apparently the area is a paradise for Anglers and a friend of mine likes to go trout fishing there. We put in in Elba just across the bridge right next to the tackle and bait shop. As you can see in the photo, despite the good amount of rain we'd had recently the beginning was tough going, but after a few yards it got easier and overall we had just the right amount of water to run it without having too swift a current to enjoy the landscape or for it to be too shallow. John G was the experienced canoeist in the boat and found good channels so nobody had to get out other than for lunch. Cathy and I as kayakers don't need quite as much to keep us afloat, but then I don't have as much space to carry big thermoses with hot cocoa as John G, Marsha C and Kim L had in the canoe :-) I couldn't find flow data specifically to Whitewater, but the closeby Mississippi at Winona was in its 75th-89th percentile for flow for next time to look up if it might be runnable.
Colors are getting scarce. It's now up to mainly oaks providing lush rust tones in contrast with the blond grasses.
It was REALLY gusty! Leaves were raining down on us frequently torn off by fierce sounding blasts. We however were protected in our little river valley and could only pity the hikers up there on the bluffs that might be exposed.
Lunch! There are a couple of spots along the way to get out with stoney beaches that invite to look for interesting rocks.
Must be someone's favorite fishing spot.
It is a pretty little stretch of river with lots of turns to keep the paddler entertained. We also were really lucky with the weather! There had been a possibility of rain in the forecast, but we even got some sun and not a drop of precipitation :-)
Minnesota has got 4 Biome and this here is the deciduous forest with it's leafy trees. A lot more of my trips are into the coniferous forest area of Minnesota up North and recently I am getting more acquainted with the prairie grassland. I am getting quite eager to see what the tallgrass aspen parkland area of Minnesota looks like. It's close to Lake of the Woods and Garden Island SP which recently peaked my interest due to its remoteness. Since this corner of MN is quite a bit of a drive it'll be a good idea to combine a few things for a longer trip...
Brr at the windy take out near Beaver. Once you see the bridge your landing is on the left. It's a steep and muddy landing. The run took us from about 2 1/2 hours with a short break for lunch.
Warming up at the fire in the lodge. That fire is one of my favorites at this group camp. It's in the middle of the room, so there is plenty of space for folks to sit around it. I remember that massive chimney working better last year, so we were joking around that John F should go up there and maybe even come down it at the Halloween party for a grand entrance like Santa. He did say he had brushes and stuff, so who knows next time he may have a chimney sweep costume. Come to think of it, Pat R would make a great Mary Poppins :-)
Kim L, Chris T and Suresh.
Gorgeous time of the day: When the sun beams start grazing the hilltops. Such a great metaphor to see that the same thing can look so different depending on what light you shine on it and how.
The group camp with its very comfortable cabins. John F told me that this camp replaced an old POW camp where Germans were housed during WWII. We still need to find out whether they got offered passage home when they were released or if they needed to make their own way like their counterparts in Europe did.
Blue skies for a brisk hiking and biking day.
Another lovely trip with a great Halloween party that deserved a post for all the costumes all by itself.
Thanks so much especially to Jen O and Stacey "Blossom" G for organizing!