As nice as it would have been to find a place that was actually on the river, our new home in St. Michael comes with a different kind of access.
If I were to live on a specific shoreline, I can imagine myself staying close to that one body of water. For example, even though our Crystal home was five miles or so from the Mississippi, that became the river I most frequently explored. There are many other waterways waiting to be explored nearby, but human nature often drives us to the familiar, rather than the undiscovered.
From our new residence, I’m still less than ten miles from the Mississippi, but much farther upstream. I could choose from entry points at St. Cloud, Monticello, Otsego or Elk River. But we are also close to the Crow River… a quite paddle-able tributary which joins the Mississippi at Dayton. We are within driving range to a number of other streams, including the Elk and Sauk rivers. And of course, we will return to (and continue to maintain) our adopted stretches of the northern St. Croix River… as regularly as time allows.
Our home is situated in the extreme southwest corner of town. In fact, you look at the town from our front window, but at the country from our rear window. The patio door literally opens to a unique grass and wetland. There is a small country highway about a half-mile to our south… and a set of power lines perhaps a half mile to our west. But aside from that, there is little but grass, short brush, and a few ponds. So far, we’ve seen blackbirds, yellow finches, a pheasant, geese, ducks, and a muskrat. With these kinds of critters so plentiful, fox and perhaps even coyote cannot be far behind. Surprisingly, I have not yet seen deer, but I am confident we will.
Three or four miles to our west/northwest, on a casual drive, we discovered a different kind of water that I intend to spend some time on. It is a slough… just small enough to remain nameless, uninhabited as far as powerboats and jet skis are concerned. But big enough to paddle, and inhabited by pelicans, egrets and beaver (and much more, I am sure; these are just what we saw from the road). Millions of people explore popular lakes here in Minnesota, and thousands more traverse its well-known rivers. But few will see these less traveled waterways… which makes them all the more inviting.
Anyway, there is much exploring to be done, now that we have a new home base. Instead of lamenting that I could not own a specific stretch of waterfront, perhaps I should be pleased that I am not confined by one.
© 2009 Mike Anderson, St. Michael, MN. All rights reserved.