Wicked River

I had the opportunity this past week to take a riverboat cruise along the mighty Mississippi River, although this wasn’t the typical riverboat cruise with fine dining and music one might be accustomed to.  This was a riverboat cruise, dubbed Wicked River, full of art, science, history and adventure organized by the Mississippi River Fund.  I boarded the  Jonathan Padelford Riverboat and was immediately greeted by the Prairie Fire Lady Choir.  People of all ages were in attendance to interact with the presenters on board, which included National Park Service Rangers with historic aerial photographs, videos, and maps; scientists from the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory with a rather unique river flume; and a lady who has a very intimate connection with the river in that she’s lived on it in a paddleboat for years.

The river flume was of particular interest to me.  The flume is designed to help folks learn and think about fluvial geomorphology.  Say what?…yes I said the correctly…fluvial geomorphology.  I’ll break it down for the non-scientist folks.  Fluvial = water, geo = earth, morph = change of and ology = the study of.  Essentially these scientists study how water and earth interact with one another.  The flume helps demonstrate the basic principles of river behavior,  channel morphology and sediment transport processes with remarkable accuracy. It comes complete with miniature trees, culverts and even had a small dump truck to simulate how we as humans impact natural processes.  My inner child came out and I was playing in the water and sediment (which in this flume is actually small bits of colored plastic) in no time.  Creating new channels, moving trees, diverting water, and dumping mini loads of sediment into the makeshift riverbed was not only fun but helped us all see that when you change one thing in a river, it can cause additional changes throughout the rest of the channel.  The true children on board were also very intrigued and started building all sorts of fun dams only to demolish them a few minutes later.  Suffice to say, I think we had some future engineers aboard that evening.

I do enjoy good science, but I’ll leave that to the professionals and stick with what I enjoy most…watching  people, photographing their expressions, and the landscape which causes those expressions.

Click on the image below see my gallery from the the Wicked River Riverboat cruise.

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A tribute to fallen soldiers…

I’ve driven by the Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN many times and every time I want to stop and take some pictures.  Some may consider that a bit morbid – maybe, but for me, I think cemeteries can be incredibly peaceful, not to mention historical – pages of our past.  For instance, the picture at the right is of a cemetery in the heart of downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Yep, downtown Boston.  Its called the King’s Chapel and Burying Ground and is found along the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile, brick-lined route that leads you to 16 historically significant sites throughout downtown Boston. If you are ever in Boston, I would highly suggest checking it out.  A blog post will be coming soon to document my trip along Freedom Trail, so stay tuned!

I digress…anyway, in 1870 the Fort Snelling cemetery was created to serve as a burial place for soldiers who died while stationed at the fort. After World War I the citizens of St. Paul petitioned to have a national cemetery established in the vicinity. Congress passed legislation in 1937 that designated a potion of the Fort Snelling Military Reservation as a national cemetery. The entire site, administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, comprises 436 acres and remains the final resting place for over 180,000 service men and women. A humbling display of bravery, patriotism and commitment to freedom of those that came before us.

I had the distinct pleasure not long ago of what we in the airline industry call a “productivity break”.  A productivity break is a long sit between scheduled flights that does nothing but make our day longer…sometimes 13 hours plus. I could waste an entire post simply dedicated to these monsters, but this time I decided to make the best of my productivity break and be…well, productive.  I decided to venture outside the airport, enjoy the sun, and honor all the fallen soldiers the best way I know how – with pictures! Click on the image below to see my gallery/tribute to all the men and women, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas who fought so I could be productive on my “productivity break.”

Minneapolis Farmers Market

Ahhhh….the Farmers Market.  A great place to see local talent, get locally grown veggies, fruits and more.  I couldn’t have asked for a better day…clear skies and 70 degrees.  While walking through the market I noticed three kids, who appeared to be brothers, playing around as kids do.  After watching them for awhile they began playing a different kind of hide-and-seek.  This version required the need to look through a mail slot to see if they could find each other.  After a little convincing I asked them to see if they could find me.  I went behind the door (pretending to hide) and was able to capture this image.  Success…they found me and I found them.

A few smiles and laughs later they were dubbed The Three Amigos.

Gracias mis amigos!!!

More images from this day can be seen here!