Minnehaha Creek

With all the rain this June, Minnehaha Creek is running like it hasn’t for years. It is a very fun canoe tour situated in the midst of the Twin Cities. You can check the level and if  150 cfs 0f water or more is being released from the lake you will have plenty of water for a tandem canoe, 100cfs for a solo. I came down last Sunday morning and it was beautiful. Of course, be prepared for trains, planes and automobiles and some urban flotsam and not always of a nautical origin. Shopping carts, baby strollers, whiskey bottles — they’re all part of the trip. I once counted and passed under sixty bridge decks from Lake Minnetonka to the Falls.  When water levels approach 300cfs some of these bridges can be a tight squeeze so be careful at high levels. Also, watch for strainers and fallen trees especially … Continue reading

The Big Fork

Just returned from 58 miles on the Big Fork River in northern Minnesota. It was a good trip with, considering this spring, exceptional weather. The Big Fork weaves through the plain that was once the lake bed of Glacial Lake Agassiz. That said it is not a very lively river. However, our trip did begin just upstream Little American Falls which, at the high water we were paddling, formed a nasty ledge that would be even difficult to line. We made a short portage. Just past our take-out was Grand Falls a similar drop. It was maybe not as sharp, but very bumpy. I would not attempt it in a canoe. In between we had a few riffles and one small rapid but mostly thick bush and a meandering slow river. The water was peat brown and the banks steep and slippery. If it sounds like a mediocre Minnesota canoe … Continue reading

With the ice off the border lakes and the summer paddling season underway, it is a great time to refine some camping strategies.

One of the rules commonly broken in the Boundary Waters Wilderness is the prohibition of burning paper, plastic or foil in campfires.  The USFS has done research  on the burning of plastic and foil and has discovered that it sometimes releases toxic fumes far in excess of the burning of natural campfire wood. Interestingly, just burning natural wood releases some nasty fumes, but it must be remembered that people don’t sit in the smoke and breathe deep. The Forest Service also recommends small campfires. These small fires often do not reach a temperature or a duration of temperature high enough to complete the combustion of plastics and foils. This can leave globs of melted plastic and foil which is not only unsightly but hazardous to the next camper … Continue reading