Monday, June 4, 2012

Wisconsin side of the St.Croix River

We started our Sunday at First Lutheran Church of Taylor Falls,  Minnesota. During the service there was a blessing of the high school seniors. Also, as part of that tradition, each graduate was given a quilt made by the ladies of the church. What a meaningful way to acknowledge that important milestone for those young men and women!  At the end of the service John got to chatting with one of the members who informed us that visitors to their church get a small bottle of maple syrup. Turned out that there is quite a "sappy story" which comes with that bottle of syrup. The youth of First Lutheran every spring work with Don and Sydney's Sugar shack in harvesting the sap. It is estimated that it takes 25-40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. The youth also clean the sap buckets after they are done. Don Hansen boils it down into maple syrup and bottles the syrup. The final product  is sold by First Lutheran youth. The first money earned by sales goes back to Don Hansen to pay for the bottles, caps, filters, and other supplies needed for preparing maple syrup. The rest of their profit is used to pay for youth activities. Syrup is given to those families who offer to let them tap their trees. I must say that is the most unusual fund raiser for youth that I have ever encountered!  It seems to work well for First Lutheran. In the afternoon we drove to Wisconsin to explore Interstate Park on the eastern shore of St. Croix River. After stopping at the Visitor's Center and getting information on the park's trails, we headed out on another Pothole Trail. We were expecting some more awesome potholes the likes of which we had seen on the Minnesota side. These potholes were a bit smaller than those on the other side of the river, however.
As we walked along that trail we were able to look across the river at where we were yesterday. Pictured below is Angle Rock. At this point the river follows along a fault line as it tumbles through the Dalles. Hard to believe that we were walking around on top of that rock yesterday. Rock climbers consider this area a gem in which to practice their rock climbing skills. We saw numerous climbers in the two days we have been in this area.
We also took a hike on the Echo Canyon Trail. Sheer rock walls rise up to 200 feet above the river below. The height of the the white pine trees and huge boulders were so awesome to me that I had to point my camera skyward and take a picture.
Our trail took us to Lake O the Dalles. It connects to the river and also is over its' banks.

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