So far as I'm concerned, the higher the water at Thousand Islands, the better. For one thing, the higher it gets, the faster it moves. Secondly, when it's right up to the level of the boardwalk, you feel like you're walking on water. It's absolutely thrilling. And when you look toward the river, it seems like it's higher than you are, which is equally thrilling.
Today, 1 May 2009, it was not that high, but was still worth exploring due to the nice spring runoff. Spring is the time to visit. But if we get some record rainfall in the near future, I think I'll make another trip.
The top photo is the Grignon Mansion, built in 1837 by fur trader/Indian interpreter Charles A. Grignon as a wedding gift for his Pennsylvania born wife. It was called the mansion in the woods, and is situated at the foot of Grand Kakalin Rapids, now Kaukauna, a 50 foot drop of the Fox River. The mansion is located on the opposite shore of the river from Thousand Islands, beyond the paper mill.
The river is on the left, with the boardwalk at its edge. Fast moving channels break off from the river and rush into the woods. Downstream view.
This is an upstream view of a section of boardwalk and channels separating from the river.
This is a channel rushing away into the woods.
A tangle of channels reveals why this place is called Thousand Islands.
I lay on the boardwalk for this shot, to capture a sense of the water rushing straight at me.
This classy mallard drake is surrounded by swirling, rushing water. He's slightly downstream of a tree trunk -- a safe haven.
The rapids meet the calm water here.
A view of the rapids from higher ground, this is near the end of the rapids.
I called this Goose Row. There were loners and family groups, and the family groups had five goslings each. They all fled to the water when we came through.
There's no denying they are cute -- Canada goslings. The camera didn't pick it up, but they are greenish yellow. Weirdest color.
There's a nice twist in the rapids here that can kind of be seen in the photo, courtesy of my polarizer.
This is not the sort of thing I'd want to do with little kids. This family group is not floating pleasantly along. It is being swept down the rapids at a frightening rate. The adults keep maneuvering to keep the kids between them, and close. Family groups seemed to consist of 2, 3, or 5 goslings. All the 5-groups were at Goose Row, where the water was calmer. The family groups along the rapids had 2 and 3 goslings. This made me wonder if those little geese sometimes got swept hopelessly away in the swift water.
The Thilmany Paper Mill is a prominent feature in the Thousand Islands landscape. It's probably also the industrial life-blood of Kaukauna.
Upstream is a railroad bridge and the powerhouse.
This upstream view provides a good sense of the height of the drop in the river. It drops about 41 feet over a 1.3 mile stretch, and a total of about 50 feet as it passes through Kaukauna.
I grew up in this place that was not so affectionately called "the armpit of the nation" (Thilmany's process emits a strong odor), and Daddy worked at the mill, yet my awareness of its beautiful places was somewhere between vague and nonexistent. That has changed.
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