November 1, 2020

Hidden Falls Regional Park on the Mississippi River


Hidden Falls Regional Park on the Mississippi River

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 1, 2020

Lately, we've been staying mostly isolated, but still try to get together with friends at least once each week.  If I didn't, I'd probably be insane by now.  On Friday night, we had dinner with our friends, Tom & Kellie Wolf.  Tom is running for re-election for Scott County Commissioner in District 2.  For all of my friends in Scott County, please consider voting for Tom on Tuesday.  He's a good guy!

On Saturday we continued our mission to explore places around Minnesota that can be safely visited while social distancing.  We went to Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul which is on the Mississippi River.

This sign made us pretty nervous at first.  Then I started thinking I might really enjoy the opportunity to face off against a pack of coyotes.  I mean it's not like they're wolves, right?  They're pretty small from what I understand and I'm a relatively strong kicker.  I think I'd fare pretty well against them.  

We walked along the banks of the Mississippi and explored the woods trying to find the Hidden Falls.  Unfortunately, the falls ended up being dried out so it was more like a Hidden Wall of Rocks.  Still pretty cool, though.

I found this structure pretty intriguing.  Miss Sheri thought it was some kind of an aqueduct where I was more of a believer that behind the gate is where Pennywise the Dancing Clown lives.  Not sure if either one of us is right.

There actually seemed like quite a few interesting places to explore on the Minneapolis side of the river.  We may have to make another visit here one day and park over there to check it out.

Eventually we reached the edge of the park and decided to walk through the woods on the way back which was along this fence.  We wondered why they had barbed wire on the other side of the fence and exactly what or who it was they were trying to keep out.  Then we came across this part of the fence that had been knocked down and were wondering if that meant the creatures had entered the park and we'd be facing them soon.  Since it was Halloween and there was a blue moon scheduled that night, I figured for certain this was the start of our nightmare.  Turns out we didn't encounter anything, not even the stupid coyotes.  In the end I kind of felt let down by it all.

We did see a lot of graffiti and carvings on the rock walls.  My best guess is these are thousands of years old and were left by natives of the land and this represented some of the animals that must have been roaming around this  area.  I should have been an archaeologist.   I think I have a real knack for it.

Eventually we re-entered our vehicle and drove along the river some more.  We found Ford Dam and decided to check it out.  This is a Hydroelectric Dam which used to be used by the Ford Motor Company to power their nearby assembly plant.  I was thinking about getting solar panels for our house at some point, but this would be so much cooler!

This is one of the original turbines used in the dam from 1924-1994.  This thing weighs 15 tons and produced over 1.3 billion Kilowatt Hours of electricity in it's lifetime which is the equivalent of burning 286,000 tons of coal.  I found this really hard to believe.  When I leaned up against it I would have sworn it didn't weigh more than 12 or 13 tons max.  

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