Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rocks, trees, and water

With a late September wedding anniversary, Peter and I often celebrate by driving to the nearby countryside to soak in the glorious leaf color. This year the setting itself was far more dramatic than the color.

Last Friday, on a lovely warm afternoon, we drove along the St. Croix River to Taylors Falls, Minnesota, home of Interstate State Park. The river forms part of the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the park extends into both states.

Basalt cliffs at Taylors Falls are just the beginning; the entire area underwent drastic upheaval in the glacial age. Says the park's website: "At least 10 different lava flows are exposed in the park, along with two distinct glacial deposits, and traces of old streams valleys and faults." This isn't a park for strolling; it requires climbing and sometimes picking your way over massively uneven rocks.

A notable feature of the area is a series of glacial potholes, some of them remarkably narrow and deep. This pothole illustrates another common feature of the park: trees, ferns, and vines growing out of seemingly tiny fissures in the rock. Peter's comment: "Where there's a will, there's a way."

Some potholes have been excavated; others that appear shallow are simply filled in with sand and rock. Scientists hope to excavate one more, the largest in the park. Daily tours explain the potholes, and there is information on the park's website.

We may go back another year to take a river cruise to enjoy this scenery from another perspective. Glad we didn't try that this year; Sunday's paper noted that the river is so shallow because of drought that the usual 2-hour cruise has been cut to just 45 minutes.

16 comments:

Rubye Jack said...

What a beautiful place!
Congratulations on another year of marriage.

Stephen Hayes said...

Your pictures make me want to paint landscapes again.

Chantel said...

Beautiful! And happy anniversary!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Happy Anniversary! :)

Red said...

Happy anniversary. Great tour of a beautiful area.

DJan said...

Great pictures, but especially that first one. Took my breath away, it's so pretty...

Green Monkey said...

what a beautiful way to spend an anniversary. Lovely, Lovely, photo's !!!!!!!

Murr Brewster said...

That looks like my kind of place. Hidey holes. Places to fall into and not get out. (Theoretically.) Reminds me of Old Rag Mountain in Virginia, and I don't know the geological origins of that one. I didn't know you had volcanic scenery out there. Obviously, I'm overdue for a visit.

The Broad said...

Happy Anniversary. Minnesota is such a beautiful state. My sister's family has a place on the St. Croix river and it is indeed beautiful -- especially at this time of year. Your pictures are just wonderful and really capture the magic of that part of the world.

Wayne said...

Aren't the colours of September beautiful?

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Nancy! Lovely photos! It looks an amazing place to visit, though the idea of pot-holes (okay, potholing, anyway) gives me the willies. Happy anniversary! Indigo x

Ms Sparrow said...

Wow, for all the times I've heard about Taylors Falls and the St Croix Valley, I had no idea it was so geologically interesting! Thanks for a very informative post.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Isn't Interstate beautiful? I've done some camping there, quite a few years ago now, and I loved all the rocks and those potholes are so fascinating, aren't they? What a great way to celebrate another year of marriage. Congratulations!

troutbirder said...

It is indeed a beautiful place. I took 8th grade earth science students each spring on the three hour trip north to see it. Some of them still talk not about the rocks but the time they were "mooned" from across the river by some errant Wisconsonites...:)

injaynesworld said...

What a lovely way to spend your anniversary. May you have many, many more.

Paula Wooters said...

What a gorgeous spot. I've never been there, but now I want to put it on my list of places to stop next time I'm out that way.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails