Thursday, June 16, 2011

Foster Cemetery

There is a wooded hill on the edge of River Falls that provides a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape to the southwest. From that vantage point, everything is covered with trees. From below, the gurgling sound of the Kinnickinnic River finds it's way to the listener's ears; the thick vegetation on the hillside, however, hides the river from view. Though unseen, a person can easily imagine the path the river takes between the other hills as it makes its meandering march west to meet up with the St. Croix.

150 years ago, this same hilltop was chosen to be used as the site of the Foster's family cemetery. It hasn't been used for nearly one hundred years, but the couple dozen graves are not lacking for decoration because of the wildflowers that spring up all over the site.

I was first introduced to this frontier final resting place when my college Botany class went there to view it as an example of a prairie restoration site. After that introduction, I went back several times during college, taking friends with me each trip. For quite some time I had wanted to take my kids there, but I hadn't been there myself for several years and I thought I should check it out again before bringing the kids. A few weeks ago I hiked up there and came to the conclusion that Julia would be able to handle the walk, but probably not Finn.

It's less than a mile and a half walk from our house to the cemetery - half being on the road and half being along a weedy path and through the woods. Julia and I made the trek a few weekends ago. It was very peaceful and we had some nice chats about all sorts of things.

There are few little hills to walk up on the way to the top.

Some of the gravestones have survived really well and are easy to read the names and dates. Others haven't fared so well and the inscriptions on them can barely be made out, if at all. Julia and I made some guesses as to the history behind some of them based on the names and dates. On a particular set of stones, she immediately understood the significance of one of them: born 1888, died 1889. And judging from the dates and names on both, the one next to it was probably the baby's mother. We agreed it was sad.

After wandering through the graveyard awhile and then checking out the view, we headed back down. While back on the weedy path, Julia saw a large flat rock in the ground and stopped to look at it. She spotted a minuscule snail that was spending its afternoon crossing over the rock. It was about the size of half of a six-year-old's fingernail.

I snapped a few pictures of a few other insects and was fortunate enough to get a few good ones.

We both enjoyed the father/daughter adventure of that day!


Anonymous said...

now I see where your new FB profile picture came from. I like the blog posting along with the pics. Nice job! Thanks, Gr. Colleen

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful day. An early Father's Day gift. Love, Grandma Beth

Anonymous said...

I remember going there late one evening with the gang. I think I made Anna check me for ticks! I don't think I could find it today. We need to find a time for all us to get together and go. College sure was fun!
Katie Patty

Torey said...

Yeah, I remember that too - good times! And a little spooky being in a old graveyard in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night.

I'm sure I was my usual gentlemen-like self and offered to help look for ticks too.