February 5th, 2009 - Creek Walk (literally)


Hap and I took advantage of the rare conditions that presently allow us to walk Minnehaha Creek from our house, all the way down the surface of the creek to the Falls.
For this to happen there usually has to be a pretty long cold spell, and or low water to begin with.
This year we've had both.

It's pretty cool; you can walk under Minnehaha Parkway and under Highway 55, (a.k.a. Hiawatha Avenue) under the old train overpass, and through the Minnehaha Avenue creek tunnel right before the little island with the Minnehaha statue. The ice is still at least 8 to 10 inches thick in most places, but I did notice some run-off water entering, so I'm sure it won't hold up for long if we have the prolonged thaw that is predicted.
The ice in the 55 tunnel is pretty great. At some point a pressure crack developed and a whole section gave way and dropped about ten inches.
You can see the whole creek sheet sagging in the middle, and it's hard to get a scope of the scale until you get right down there, but it's like the whole section about thirty feet wide and maybe eighty feet long just dropped like the bottom fell out. Reminds me of some of the earthquake pictures you see. 

I can't imagine what that sounded like!
Just me walking through there on aluminum snowshoes was like gunshots going off with each step, the whole place is like a reverb chamber. It must have really been something when it happened.

I'm not sure how much longer it will be passable. Once water starts flowing under the creek, I'm sure it's going to deteriorate rapidly. I feel lucky we could catch it at a time when we can get in there and the light is good. It's an unusal perspective.
Besides that coolness, I smelled fox musk and saw some scat that looked suspiciously like fox, and Happy was all keyed up about it as well. There were two rabbit kills along our route, probably from a few days ago. Lots of bird activity today after such a long cold spell; cardinals, juncos, chickadees, and some tough-ass robins were all out gathering.


The "Virgin's Bower" is still frozen in place from last fall along the Pergola. It looks really cool with the low sun coming through and maybe a little frost along the edges. I really felt warmth of the sun today, the first day in many. I realized I was overdressed for snowshoeing pretty quickly, actually had my hat and gloves off, and both my jackets zipped down all the way at one point. Ahh, you appreciate the small victories as you grow older.
 

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