After all of the rain, sleet, and snow last week Cyn and I drove a quick loop through a local favorite area right out side of town.
Hay Creek is not only a township in Goodhue County, but also a lovely spring-fed trout stream and a day-use recreation area just outside of Red Wing. I used to fly fish it all the time until the mass blow down of trees along its banks several year back now. It is extremely hard to walk along and fish in my favorite sections. There are also countless horse, walking and bike trails through the recreation area (Hay Creek Day – Use Area).
It is a short drive from town to country and sites suitable for capture. There are usually numerous opportunities to photograph wildlife. I just missed a bald eagle shredding a trout on the stream bank. We moved along the road and spent time with some horses. We also happened upon a native of the area; an old co-worker of mine and his very photogenic sheepdog.
This past weekend was gorgeous with unseasonably warm weather. Cyndie and I spent most of St. Patrick’s Day en route to Alexandria for a wedding. Sticking to the main drag of Interstate 94 until the Clearwater exit; then the discovery and shooting began.
I continually feel so incredible fortunate to be able to consistently stumble upon wonderful sites to capture. And to do so with Cyndie makes these experienced all the more memorable and fun. As you have no doubt have gathered from past posts – the old, decrepit and crumbling structures is high on our list to shoot. From time to time we have been lucky enough to stumble upon the complete abandoned farmstead: barn, house, and if we are really lucky, additional out buildings. We were just that lucky, not once, but twice this trip. The awesomeness was plentiful and seemingly forever in-frame for the duration of our departure to our return. On the return trip home we were super-double-lucky and happened upon the whole enchilada at one single location: barns (yes, plural), house, out-building, and a dozen or so old cars. What a glorious, spectacular mess of exquisitely aged color and texture. Loved every minute of it.
After shooting some hoar frost in the early morning, it was off to Lake Elmo and the Washington County Fair Grounds for the Winter Spirit of Yesteryear Rally with the Manes and Tails Harness Club. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough snow for sleighs, so carriages and wagons it was. There were all sizes and varieties of horses, carriages and wagons going about the grounds. Some of the participants adorned themselves with elaborate costumes too. It was fun photographing these beautiful beasts as they pulled their drivers along.
So it seems that Winter; not just the season, but the weather as well, has finally settled in. It is here to stay. Goodbye above-average seasonal high’s and hello cold and blustery weather and sunset @ 4:30 p.m.
It was a great day to get together with a few RWPC members and hit the back roads to see what we would find. A Winter wonderland lay in front of us throughout our travels…the entire landscape blanketed in a fresh 4″-6″ inches of the white fluffy stuff. I do love the snow. The way it settles in and stacks up on the trees – it is beautiful. Shoveling and commuting it…not so much.
We ventured down a favorite path of mine – County O. A very picturesque stretch with the Trimbelle River running along side the road most of the way. The Trimbelle River valley is wonderful any time of year really – wild flowers in the Spring, lush greens of Summer, and everyone’s favorite, color in the Fall. From Hwy 35 all the way to Hwy 10 – the sites are plentiful in the Winter-time as there are many pastures, bridges, barns and critters to stop and gaze upon or take in from the warmth and comfort of your car.
The fresh snow certainly brightened up the scenery. Almost gone are yellows and browns of a spent Fall. They are still around, although now more so as an accent to the predominate white blanket that is now all around.
The path from Red Wing, MN to Rice Lake, WI was everything I expected it to be. Countless back roads lay between here and there. So many dead end drives and county road loops to explore; even though I expanded an easy hour and half drive to eight total, there were just too many to take all in. You just can’t go wrong roaming a path littered with horse stables, distressed buildings, and barns-barns-barns galore. I even spied a roster pheasant along the way, but he was very quick and my only shots were marginal. A dandy bird non-the-less; a seemingly rarer site these days. Part Two on the way.