Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Kinni and the Rocky Branch

The Kinnickinnic River flows south through western Wisconsin on its way to meet up with the mighty St. Croix. Before it reaches that point, it flows along Main Street in River Falls. The river slows down enough to form Lake George and a little ways downstream, Lake Luise. At that point, Glen Park is just behind and ahead is a popular spot for kayakers to put in. This section of the river, on the south-western edge of the city, has a series of trails that lead to the water's edge and along it. I hadn't been on the trails in awhile and had wanted to take the kids there sometime.

Because of the heat approaching 100 degrees and because Finn was being fussy, I decided to just bring Julia. Like I did the summer before with Foster Cemetery, I decided to try it out with the older kid before bringing the younger.

We found the start of one of the trails and headed down the hilly trail towards the river. The heat was oppressive but we were mostly shaded, there was a slight breeze, and we had water. After the path leveled off, we caught glimpses of the river.

Julia and I took a few steps off the path to take a look at an old limestone kiln.

Back on the trail, we were getting nicer views of the Kinni. Along with the views came glimpses of wildlife. We saw two blue herons in the river.

The second one ended up flying into a tree to wait out the passing kayakers.

I was hoping to get Julia and me into the water, but there wasn't a good place where we were. Instead of the Kinni we found a babbling little tributary - the Rocky Branch. We walked up it a ways and thoroughly enjoyed the cold water during the sweltering temps.

Julia posed on a rock before we called it a day and hiked the steep trail back toward car.

A week later, the temperatures were at least ten degrees cooler and the five-year-old better rested. This time I took them both. They did the hand holding completely on their own.

After coming to the Rocky Branch again, I decided to take the kids farther along the Kinni to explore a bit. We came to another, meandered stretch of the Rocky Branch and so that's where we got our feet wet. It took a few minutes to get Finn moving - he saw a water bug and insisted on going home. Eventually he gave in and things were fine after that.

Just around the bend downstream we hopped back out and found a perfect, shallow, sandy area on the shore of the Kinni. We stayed there and the kids played for nearly an hour.

The three of us then went back to the same area Julia and I had gone the week before. The kids played a bit and then we had a snack on the sand along the Rocky Branch before heading home.