The warm and calm days have been difficult for lawns, flowers, crops, and humans, but they have created excellent conditions for boating. We've been out many times on Lake Pepin and we are really enjoying it whether it is in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Here is a photo from a boat ride last Sunday evening.
We had heard that outdoor equipment was in high demand since the pandemic, and we learned a lesson about that. The rear rim on one of our bicycles went bad -- spokes breaking -- so we went in to get it replaced. Should have been a few minutes, but parts are so scarce now that it was over two months just to get a new rim sent to the bike shop. Nice to know more people are getting outside and enjoying activities, but I hope the supply chains get caught up soon.
Each June, Lake City sponsors a Water Ski Days event celebrating Lake Pepin and Lake City's role as The Birthplace of Water Skiing. I shot a series of photos of several events for RiverTown Multimedia. See some of the photos here.
I finally got the chance to canoe the Cannon River from Welch to Red Wing. It was a gorgeous day. Water was moderately high and moving well. We had a relaxing two hours on the river on a sunny, happy day. One view of the trip is below.
Having long been a fan of Sigurd Olson's writing, I was pleased this spring when excerpts from his journals were published as "A Private Wilderness: The Journals of Sigurd F. Olson." Olson's outdoor experiences are recorded in his books, and now readers can see how he developed his thinking about the books he wrote. Reading a writer's journals is different than reading the books. The author in the journals is developing, trying out words, phrases, and ideas, and it is a treat to look inside that creative mind while all this preparation and dreaming is going on. I wrote a review of "A Private Wilderness" for RiverTown Multimedia. Click here to read it.
One of my final projects with RiverTown Multimedia was with area bridges. One of the really unique bridges was the Spiral Bridge in Hastings. In order to span the Mississippi River, the bridge had to be high enough to let big boats pass underneath, but that meant the end of the bridge would extend well past the downtown area, effectively carrying customers beyond most businesses. The solution: use a spiral to drop drivers down sooner and onto busy Second Street. Here is a photo of a replica of the bridge. This replica is about ten miles south of Hastings, Minnesota.
Water quality in the RiverTown area is vital to business, recreation, and life. Two of the articles in the Land & Water series deal with water quality. The first is about how area managers monitor and maintain water quality, and the second is about how the karst geology of the area affects how pollutants reach groundwater which is the source of almost all drinking water in the region.
Today I spent my final day as a news reporter. I loved the last three years and felt like the work I got to do was exciting. I met so many good people and experienced many events I would have never attended without the job. As a high school teacher, I often taught the newspaper and yearbook classes, so this was a chance to do something I had wanted to do for many years. I am grateful to the editors and other staff members with RiverTown Multimedia for helping me learn how to do the job and for giving me such interesting assignments. I retired once in 2016, but then flunked retirement and went to work again. Now I'm looking forward to trying retirement again.
After three years as a reporter in Minnesota, I have decided it is time to move on and I will be retiring at the end of March. As I move toward that date, I am working on two big projects that will round out my second act career as a journalist. First, I have been working on a series of articles about bridges in the region. That will be published in our annual Progress Editions which will be delayed a few weeks this year because of the transition from RiverTown Multimedia to O'Rourke Media Group. The second project is a seven-part series on land and water quality. It will look at concentrated animal feeding operations - CAFOs - and how they affect agriculture. Then the series will look at how water is protected, both for drinking and for other uses. Then the series will end with a good look at sustainable and regenerative agriculture. There are some interesting people doing work in all of these areas. I'll be listing link to the articles in both series as they become available. Check back here.
Photo by John Jancik
Dr. Steve Gardiner is the author of six books and over 1,000 articles.