Saturday, October 19, 2013

River Rumble '13 - Day 5

The folks in Osceola wanted to make sure we didn’t forget their hospitality, and if hot showers and the Bending Branches tour weren’t enough, they sealed themselves in our memories with breakfast. This would be the breakfast of the entire trip: three pancakes and scrambled eggs, Danish, coffee, cranberry juice, orange juice, sausage, and a huge bowl of mixed fruit on each table, and more coffee. If we didn’t get our fill from one heaping plate, they walked among the tables throughout breakfast with trays of extra eggs, pancakes, and everything else. I mean those folks in Osceola knew what they were about!

Our put-in on the Minnesota side opposite Osceola, and
below the Osceola Road bridge.
Today was another short paddle, just 11 miles from Osceola to Marine on St. Croix, MN. This was the day I saw the seven bald eagles and the one golden eagle, and some of the huge second-generation white pines that made this area famous.

Looking at Buddy on the river bank and the view of the river
downstream of our put-in.
We had a mid-day break on a sandbar where we were met by the St. Croix River Association. They are a volunteer group that fosters appreciation of the beautiful St. Croix River, do river clean-up projects, monitor activities in the watershed that may impact the river, promote public awareness, support and work with the National Park Service and natural resources departments of both states, and more. They had brought a pontoon boat loaded with snacks of pastries and fruit, and beverages, hot and cold, all of which they served to us on the up-turned hull of a canoe. One of their events is the annual St. Croix photo competition. To see some great river pictures, you can go to the following link and view the 96 pictures entered in the 2013 competition.

Our sandbar meeting with the St. Croix River Association.
We had some passing sprinkles in the morning, but it cleared off as soon as we landed at the take-out. We went ashore at a landing at the foot of Maple Street in Marine. Our canoes and kayaks were set along the path that led up the hill to town. Right at the top of the footpath was an ice cream shop that many of us returned to after dinner. We turned south on Judd Street and walked to a large, beautiful park set around Lower Mill Pond, from which the stream provided water-power to the first commercial sawmill in Minnesota. The park seems to be called alternately either Millstream Park, or Burris Park. In either event, it was shaded by stately old trees and covered with a lush, loamy sod that nearly made an airmattress redundant.

The Anderson cabin of 1852.
Located in the park is the original home of settlers Sven and Stava Anderson. Built in 1852, the logs still show the marks of Sven’s axe as he trimmed and squared the logs. Between then and 1869, the couple raised three children in the cabin. Charles, their eldest, was born the day after Minnesota achieved statehood. Sven was one of the first wheat farmers in the area, and is also credited with bringing the first cattle to the area. In 1938, the cabin was moved from its original site on the Rosengren Prairie two miles northwest of town. With local contributions and volunteer support, the cabin has been maintained in its original condition.

The care and detail that went into the cabin's construction explains why it
has lasted 161 years, and could be moved without falling to pieces.  Instead
of half-lapping the corner joints, as was common with American cabins,
the logs are dovetailed at the corners, locking them in place.  Then the logs
that comprise the interior walls are cut into long tenons which extend into a
mortise that extends clear through the exterior wall.  You can see the line of
tenons coming through the wall just to the left of the window.  This is
stronger construction than is found in most homes built today.

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