Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Home Front

Now back on the home front a big thank you to all those who commented and called wishing me well on my recent hospitalization. The complex technology available to modern medicine is amazing to say the least.  More familiar and less amazing was the simple explanatory diagram the cardiologist drew on the whiteboard in my hospital room. As a former teacher that was something I knew how to do...:) Oops DJan commented the diagram makes no sense. Absolutely. The circles are where the veins enter the left and right atrium. That's where they found the short circuits. They interrupt the electrical pathways by burning (cauterizing) them. Simple huh... like finding a needle in a haystack.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


No no. Its not a tall tale or fabrication. It's a
  heads up to my blogging friends. I’ll be doing day long tests at the WFMC (thats World Famous MayoClinic ) tomorrow and then a cardiac “tune-up” on Thursday at St. Mary’s hospital in Rochester.  It’s called an ablation which will deal with my A-Fib (atrial fibrillation) probem. In laymans terms the engine is very good but the electrical system is misfiring and annoys me no end. I expect to be back on line next week firing evenly on all cylinders…J

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Remains of the Edmund Fitzgerald

In case you missed it the following link will take you to my alternate semi-literary blog Troutbirder II, where I did a review of a book about the sinking of the Great Lakes freighter The Edmund Fitzgerald.;postID=1215543655223839414.
 The reason I mention this is because a recent mini vacation to the Soo Locks at Sault St. Marie, Michigan brougth a startling reminder of the tragedy of the "Fitz" on Lake Superior. Here's the story.....
We, the Troutbirders and friends John and Joann, were touring a docked former Great Lakes  frieghter, now converted to museum. We saw the inner layout of the giant ship which had hauled (among other things) iron ore from Minnesota mines to steel mills in the east.

And then among all the memorabilia I saw it. The great ship had gone down before reaching safe harbor not to far from where I stood. There were no survivors except lifeboat #2
 right in front of me......

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Spirit of Fall

As you can see on a recent hike my beloved began collecting leaves. I never know what that woman will come up with next.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Storm

On the evening of July 1, 2011 a severe
storm ripped through St. Croix State Park and
surrounding areas.
Along with a deluge of rain, winds in excess of
60 miles per hour struck the park. Pockets of
wind estimated between 80 and 100 miles per
hour uprooted and snapped trees across the
Approximately 11,000 acres had at least 50%
damage to the trees , and
9,600 of those acres lost 75-100% of the trees.

Park roads, trails and facilities were blocked
and damaged extensively by this storm. St.
Croix State Park was closed to the public for
two months to prevent endangering any park
visitors.  Of 197 park buildings, 74 experienced tree damage.
The roads and trails in the park
were blocked in many locations by
walls of fallen trees. The initial
clearing of roadways leading to facilities
took crews two weeks to accomplish. Clearing
of trails lasted through August, with extensive
work by chainsaw crews and backhoes.
Mother Nature has dealt a catastrophic blow to one of Minnesota most prized and popular state parks.
The volume of timber down is enormous. If left
the trees would become a very serious wildfire
hazard and a breeding ground for forest pests
and diseases. Contracted logging through strictly
regulated timber sales is still going on in the Park a year later.  We went our for a ride on the eastern portions of the park  to take a look.  Come on along...


The damage was extensive in significant areas  of Minnesotas largest state park. But after taking a look I'm confident that the cleanup has reduced much of the future fire danger.  Areas will change from forested to savanha and even prairie. There were more diveristy of habitat but it will still be a beautiful place.....

Thursday, October 11, 2012

St. Croix State Park

On the Minnesota Wisconsin  eastern border lies the beautiful St. Croix river. The St. Croix River was one of the original eight rivers to have significant portions placed under protection by the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.    

Today it remains the Wild and Scenic River closest to a major metropolitan area in the country.  A clue in that direction would be the presence of eastern timberwolves in Minnesotas largest state park which likes astride the river for 21 miles. All of this only an hours drive from the Twin Cities.  We were lucky enough to spend a few days camping there recently with our friends Gary and Rosie. It was mid week mid Sept. and the park, with hundreds of campsites,  had very few campers. The weather was perfect for long hike and Baron got to go with us and even sleep in the camper. He was a very good boy .
Here, he is taking an early morning walk with Gary.

Mrs T. and Baron take a hiking break along the river.  One of my objectives on this trip was to survey the  damage from a tornado and huge storm, with straight line winds over a hundred miles and hour, which hit the park over a year ago. Thousands of acres of trees were downed, roads blocked and many buildingsdestroyed. Fortunately,in this case,   the park was closed due to political bickering. Minnesotas state government, except for emergency and police services was closed so their were no fatalities in the park. I'll show pictures of what happened in my next post....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Prairie Trail

 The big guy (Baron) and I average a several mile hike at least every other day in spring, summer and fall. Occasionally we are joined by Mrs. T. Here is one we took in August. The small woodland   sunflowers   were spectacular. Baron, of course likes to investigate everything. Especially a hole in the ground with interesting smells

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Sault Locks

We had traveled to Sault St. Marie Michigan/Ontario a few days in early Sept. There were had a great train ride into the Canadian wilderness. We also took a cruise up the St. Mary's River and then through the famous Soo Locks. Various incarnations of these locks which connect Lakes Huron and Michigan to Lake Superior have existed since the early 1800's.  By the 1950's, with the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway, it was possible for ocean going ships to traverse all the way to Minnesota's inland sea port at Duluth.  Hop aboard and take a look......
As we head upriver toward the locks a boat passes us heading east down the St. Mary's river.
As we approach the locks we can see the international bridge in the distance.

Entering the locks
Now we will be lifted up to the level of Lake Superior.
We made it! Should we cruise all the way home back to Minnesota? I'll talk to the captain.
On the other side of the locks we see a large Canadian steel mill in the distance.
For the return trip downriver and lunch on board we use the smaller Canadian lock which is for smaller "pleasure" boats only. Mrs T looks quite relaxed now that she's a "locks veteran." All in all it was a fun day. And by the way the buffet luncheon was great!