Heading down river, most likely much like my first ride of the new season will no doubt be. Still in the last half of February, the sun's greater intensity and wider sweep through the sky are giving all of we northerners hope. Our recent higher than average temps have only helped and I'm both hearing it and seeing it from my friends. Lighter steps and brighter dispositions, not withstanding caucus and delegate commotion.
It's been a week that's felt way extra long resulting in only a 2 day weekend (boo hoo, I know) for me and even that was seriously threatened yesterday, possibly making an even shorter break, avoided with great help from a dear friend. Thanks so very much Rick, that's twice now that you've saved me in very big ways.
Bright and mild this morning, blue sky with a blue-sky-orange sunrise, I felt a bit foggy and knew I had to get some quiet "woods" time. Peg was invited though wisely turned me down...."too much mud right now or were you thinking about paved?"
Paved was NOT what I had in mind so I headed out alone. She's so much more effective as well as efficient at Saturday cleaning than I am anyway; I'm sure that all went better without my help. :)
Lake Pepin, the lake's ice ledge here where the Mississippi River transforms into its narrower and faster self. There were a few bald eagles fishing, most of them seemed to only be casually thinking about it while resting at water's edge.
Lock and Dam #4 at Alma doing no fill/empty cycles at this time of year, only maintaining Pool Depth on the river. There were fishing boats on the river downstream and countless ice fisher people on the frozen backwater ponds upriver.
I stopped in Buffalo City for a coffee and there was a guy there with an interesting boat and to me, a very interesting boat motor/drive unit. Didn't have the camera after leaving the car. Little did I know that he and I were both headed to the Whitman Bottoms Swamp.
"Mud Motor....air cooled, don't need water, just like a lawnmower", he explained. To unknowing me, an interesting V engine and drive unit.
Not really a boat landing though serving as one today. "Roller trailer.....the only real answer" I was told. More new knowledge for my little adventure and all I'd really been seeking was some quiet time in the woods. It didn't take very long until I got the quiet that I was after......
It is absolutely as icy as it looks between the rear truck wheels and where these guys are standing. The truck is on solid ice covered ground, the guys and their trailer on river ice sheet. The truck/trailer combination slid back 6" after he put it in Park and got out.
I couldn't really tell if it was loping from being too rich via the choke being on or not but what really surprised me was when he put it in gear and actually had the prop spinning. Lugged down to what sounded like 200 rpm.....and it seemed to take it, never stalled or hiccuped. Then he got it spinning faster as they headed upstream through the backwater.
Then I got the quiet that I was after..........
Common here, large trees with very shallow root systems. Topple in winds, often after the river floods.
Yes, there was a faint bit of traffic noise, a train now and then, tracks on both the Minnesota and Wisconsin side of the river. Other than the birds, this was the best sound though......