Thursday, September 30, 2010

High Water at Harriet

I had to go to the bank about noon. My bank is on Plato Street which runs along the area of the Mississippi that is working on a fall flooding event. Since I was there yesterday, and since the crest of the flood isn't until Saturday, I stopped after my banking experience to look at the expanse of water.    Parts of Harriet Island are now under some water. This bench is normally along the sidewalk next to the river near the north end of the park. It's wet and probably will be submerged on Saturday. Plus, it's another bench photo for the bench photo series.  A dandy bench.

There are also some picnic tables that won't be used this weekend. They are also located at the north end of Harriet Island.  The bench above can be seen in the background of this photo.

The same railing that I posted yesterday is now further into the river. The park was closed, according to several signs, but there were plenty of gawkers walking around snapping photos. I even walked by a WCCO-TV crew, doing a bit for the six o'clock TV news. They weren't interested in interviewing me, so I walked on by.

Incidentally, Raspberry Island, where PP put in some effort planting sedges a month or so ago, is closed and will be mostly submerged on Saturday.

For more up to the minute flood viewing check out the St Paul River Cam.

I played some mixed doubles at Wooddale this evening.  We played almost three sets, but we were out of time at 5-4, and were forced to give up the court.  I played better today.  The lack of wind helped my confidence and my ability to hit the ball in the center of the strings - the sweet spot.  I hope that carries over to the next time I play.

It was a good day in the history of days.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Flood Forecast

The flood prognosticators are predicting a rare fall flood on the Mississippi River this weekend. This is because of the big rain storm last week that brought as much as 12 inches of rain to parts of Minnesota, and obliterated some small Minnesota communities like Zumbro Falls. The Mississippi is supposed to crest at or above the 2010 spring flood at Harriet Island. Since I spent some time tracking that, I thought I'd go have a look at the "current" conditions. From the Smith Avenue Bridge - sometimes called the High Bridge, for obvious reasons - it's pretty hard to tell that the river is rising. But the leaves are turning and it's a nice view.

Down by the river, it's a little more obvious. Looking across the river towards the Cathedral, you can see chunks in the water and a noticeable rising of the water level.

A closeup of the railing down the bank does a good job of showing the encroaching river.

The Princess spent a few days this summer planting bushes and grasses on Raspberry Island - just downstream from Harriet - to replace those that were washed away in the spring flood. It appears as though her efforts may need to be repeated in the spring.

It was a very nice day today, except for a fairly brisk wind. We - the geezers - played a couple of sets at Marie Park in the wind - the last time before Curt goes south for the winter, to Arkansas. The sets were close and a few of the points were pretty good, but playing wind tennis is pretty frustrating, especially after a couple of sessions in windless indoor arenas. I was glad to have played, but I'll also be happy to get back into the sanctuary of Fort Snelling's tennis bubble.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What a difference a year makes

For some fun I looked up my photos from last year on this date. This was taken exactly one year ago today, and show a completely waterless Minnehaha Falls. My blog from two days ago exhibits a roaring falls. It just goes to show ... I'm just saying ...

It was another great day in Minnesota's September. The temperature was 71 when the group of geezers hit the courts at Marie at 3:30. It's getting towards the end of good weather and Curt is leaving for his winter refuge in Arkansas on Friday. The rest of us are 365 day a year Minnesota stalwarts. It was great to be outside enjoying the blue sky and the changing leaves. Several partials and one complete set 5-7.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

September Summer Sunday

One nice Sunday, deep into September. My only exercise today was a walk in the park after the Vikings won their first game of the new season. I intended to go to the Rose Garden by Lake Harriet, but I got bogged down in traffic - probably related to the end of the football game - so I stopped by Nokomis where there seemed to be a frisbee football tournament in session. I hadn't ever seen a real game of this reasonably new sport, but it was a serious contest. There were four or five games going at the same time - thus tournament. The teams had same-color shirts with the team name imprinted. The players were quite athletic and were able to throw the frisbee a long, long distance. The game was just the right activity for a nice day in the park.

I managed to get a few photos of Minnehaha Creek - the same creek as yesterday's post, but on the upper and residential part of the flowage.

I'll be back to playing tennis tomorrow. The weather creatures are promising a dry week.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Extra water for Minnehaha Falls

It rained a little this morning and was dampish when I drove to Wooddale for my Saturday tennis session. It improved later in the day and by evening, it seemed like late summer again.

After tennis I stopped at home and the Prairie Princess was getting ready for a road trip to the north. I was still a little sweaty after ninety minutes of tennis ball smacking, and perhaps a little aromatic. As I hugged her goodbye she hesitated and told me, quote - "You don't smell as bad as that French guy I danced with last night." That, of course made me laugh out loud, and made me feel appreciated, all in one fell swoop.

Later I went to Minnehaha Falls to see if the recent rains had increased the flow in the creek. The falls were roaring, about the same volume as this spring just after the snow thaw. It was a pretty sight.

I also walked down the creek to the Mississippi and watched the flow of the creek along the way. I also stumbled upon this bench along the way. It's nestled in vegetation and probably doesn't get much use, but well worth adding to the portfolio of benches that have appeared in the several blogs in the last few months.

Oh, yes, the falls. There was mist and a nice flow over the precipice. The trees are beginning to have a trace of color, too. Summer is history.

When I got to the end of the walk to the river, I encountered some fishermen trying their luck in the Mississippi. These guys weren't the only ones fishing, but probably the most interesting looking. I took the photo from the bridge at the mouth of the Minnehaha Creek.

On the way back to my parked auto I had to climb a long flight of stairs up to the upper level of the park. It's a climb that I sometimes use as a test of my fitness. If I can walk up without stopping, I feel like I'm doing pretty well. Today I counted the number of steps for the benefit of people who like to know the number of steps in various staircases. Today's count for that climb was 134.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oops. Missed the Equinox

So I've taken a vacation from the blog. I'm back. Lots of things have happened in the last week or two. Unky Herb (UH) is back from his trip to China with about a thousand photos. The slide show is almost ready and has been cut to a much smaller number.

The Prairie Princess (PP) spent two weeks up north working, collecting grass seeds and driving a tractor with a manual transmission. It's part of her job. Her second week was curtailed by this big rain storm that seems to be taking over the state. She's back in town. St Paul has 2-3 inches of new water, but there are places in the state with more than a foot. The powers, that are allowed to, have declared that there may be a flood in the big river in town. It's been a strange fall.

I took these photos a couple of days ago at Afton State Park, over by the St Croix River. There weren't many folks there - school is in session and it was a marginal day weather wise. They have a nice array of benches there and a pretty good size river that empties a few miles south in to the Mississippi.

The leaves are beginning to turn and some are brown and dead enough to fall to earth. I had a short sit down on this comfy looking structure.

Lots of tennis action, but nothing very exciting to report. I've been playing pretty well - something that happens if you play four or five times a week. Tonight I played at Wooddale with Jerry and the hardcore girls. The club has a bad problem when it rains this much. Court 1 had water standing on it, which the pro and Josh, the guy at the desk, wet vacuumed up, and sent us to court 4 to play. Even court 4 had some standing water when we left as the the rain continued to fall. I think they need to get a bigger sump pump. We split a couple of sets and called it good enough.

I went to Yang's Chinese Restaurant and bought some Singapore Rice Noodles to share with PP and UH. Spicy, but pretty tasty.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Damage at Como reflecting pool

It was a coolish day and it rained now and then, but it was a day off from the action on the courts. I decided to get a photo of the State Fair without actually going into the grounds. An odd quest, but it also allowed some time to get photos of a lovely fallish day, and about two miles of walking as cross training. It was the middle of the afternoon and I parked by Como Lake. Even with the State Fair a mile away there was no competition for parking spots in the lot by the lake. Even an extra mile walk is too much when there are free park and ride facilities all over the Twin Cities.

On the way to Snelling Avenue while walking through the park, I encountered this. The reflecting pool near the Conservatory has taken some damage. It looks like a simple wall failure resulting in a cave-in under the patio like structure. It's an old wall, and apparently imperfectly built, but it may be a major job to get it repaired.

I continued walking in a Snelling direction and passed by the lily pad pool next to the Conservatory itself. The lily pads are not native to Minnesota, but they throw off some attractive flowers and interesting hued pads. I liked these.

As I watched and walked along the pool, I encountered wild life. This female mallard was swimming among the pads and the other water plants in the pool. She wasn't about to leave, having apparently grown accustomed to sightseers. So I took her picture.

I did make it all the way to Snelling. The space needle was descending as I arrived, and to prove that I was indeed at the gates of the Minnesota Get-together, I took this picture from near the main entrance on Snelling and Dan Patch Avenue. It was a nice day and especially nice to walk outside, but I was happy enough to avoid the shoulder to shoulder crowds inside the gates.

More tennis tomorrow.