The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Blue Earth River

The canoe is getting a bit crowded.
 The inspiration for a family trip down the Blue Earth River came from the cover photo of a free publication touting adventure in southeast Minnesota. In the photo, a group of life-jacket clad individuals were standing in a deep green, moss and fern covered slot canyon. I little digging revealed the name Devils Gulch or Devils Den,  a little bit of planning gave way to a van loaded with gear and a boat, pointed south.

rain forest ?

Dry falls at the end of the Devil's Gulch
  My wife and kids were in on this one as well as long time friend Fancy Ray. My wife and two kids rode in the canoe while the boys alternated turns flying solo in the pack-raft. Fancy was going solo in his own kayak as well. Since it's a river trip, the standard shuttle requirements were in effect...leaving one vehicle in Mankato and then driving to the put-in at Rapidan Park. The river started out fun and pretty much stayed that way the whole time, with lots of class 1 rapids spaced out enough that no one got bored in the flat water between.

We had to kick one of them out to make space...lucky for them I brought the  Alpacka, Scout
 The "gem", and inspiration of the trip came quickly after setting off and if not for a several kayaks beached in the sand we may have missed it altogether. The grainy photo I had originally seen didn't do the gulch justice, first hand, it looked like something straight out of the rain forest. We spent about a half hour in the short slot before moving on. Upon pushing off we met a father/son duo that informed us of another interesting must-see, not much further down steam named Triple Falls. They paddled with us, acting as tour guides, explaining other features as well as the whereabouts of the falls.
Triple Falls 

From the top of the bottom tier 

Big D gives perspective to how big the dry falls are 

summer time....the livin's easy

Super Y
  After another short hike to visit the falls we were back in the boat looking for a picnic spot. We chose a nice sand bar and busted out the grill, snacks, and drinks. Once back in the boats we were a little pressed for time and had to resist the urge to check out any of the dozens of sand spits marking other possible vertical features carved into the steep bluffs on either side of the river. Return trips will definitely be in order for further exploration of this beautiful river and valley.
Near the put-in at Rapidan Dam

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