Saturday, August 7, 2010

See the Twin Cities by canoe! (or kayak)

Two weekends ago I spent my Saturday and Sunday photographing the Mississippi River Challenge, a fundraising event put on by the Friends of the Mississippi River to raise awareness and fund for their river conservation efforts.

Canoes and kayaks of all shapes, sizes, and colors carpet the put-in point at Coon Rapids Dam
Kevar, aluminum, fiberglass, plastic, wood.  The boats of the Mississippi River Challenge run the gamut.

The Mississippi River Challenge takes several hundred paddlers from Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park to Grey Cloud Island in Cottage Grove, bringing them straight through the Twin Cities.  Paddlers get to experience a wide variety of environments on the river, including the shallow, fast-flowing waters right below the dam, the tree-lined banks north of Minneapolis, canoeing through the heart of downtown and passing through the locks at St. Anthony falls, and the more industrialized riverfront areas around St. Paul.

Some of the lead kayaks pass beneath the Hwy 610 bridge near the start of the challenge
From the 610 Bridge just downstream of the put in point the view was amazing.  The sun sparkled on the water as the first paddlers made their way toward the open river south of the park.

The trip is spread over two roughly 22-mile days, with the first day ending with a celebration and overnight camp-out at historic Ft. Snelling.  I was along to photograph the entire event, running from put-in point to various bridges, overlooks, and rests stops along the way.

Boats fill the landing at Bassett Creek Park where paddlers at lunch provided by Erbert and Gerberts
The prospect of food, cool green grass, and shade kept plenty of paddlers at Bassett Creek for a while.  This caused a big of a traffic jam down at the landing, but the hard working volunteers managed to keep boats coming and going the whole time.

The event ran very smoothly and everyone I saw seemed to be having a great time.  Every rest stop had snacks and drinks furnished by sponsors and served by volunteers, and the food never went unappreciated when the tired and hungry paddlers arrived.

This paddler is excited for the prospect of some R&R at Fort Snelling!
Look how happy these girls are to be at the fort!  All that lies between them and food and rest is a short hike up the hill to the historic fort.

A big thanks goes out to the Friends of the Mississippi River, the long list of sponsors and volunteers, and most of all, the paddlers, for making this year's Mississippi River Challenge a success!  Hope to see you next year!  In the meantime, check out the galleries here and here!

We did it!  Some of the very first paddlers to arrive at the finish at Grey Cloud Island
We did it!  Some of the first paddlers to arrive at Grey Cloud Island share a quick moment of celebration.

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment