From a Lake to a River

in geology •  8 days ago  (edited)

With the progression of time, I have found that my interests and focuses are steadily changing in intensity and direction. This change is often gradual, punctuated with moments of intense polarity and steadied by a tangible destination to steer toward. There are many common threads woven throughout the curving tapestry that I create, offering further guidance when uncertainty looms. If I were to plot the intensity of my energy focus with time, it would probably follow some standard power curve reminiscent of the notes on some distantly recalled lecture about geomorphology.

Following that thread, my summer was consumed by an exciting job leading kayaking trips in northern Wisconsin. My days were spent exploring the Apostle Islands and all of the beauty and mystery that encompasses them.

Ancient iron-rich sandstones and brownstones offer spectacular cliffs and sea caves strewn about in coastlines pointed whatever way the winds blow. Waves chop at the formations of white and red pebbly sand that stand defiant when faced with the force of the unforgiving waves of Lake Superior. Red till from the Chippewa Lobe of last ice age is caked atop the earth like geologic icing slathered by a glacial spatula across an irregularly crushed dessert landscape. The unfathomable force of this mass of ice and debris can only just start to be imagined when considering that the Apostle Islands themselves should someday become unified due to isostatic rebound, with no-longer-submerged islands set to make their debut appearance.

But just as I truly begin to feel at home in the still frigid waters of Gitche Gumee, the long days of summer approach their periodic closure and fall work becomes the focus. When an opportunity arose to spend a semester canoeing down the Mississippi River and discussing the indications and implications of the Anthropocene Period, there was little hesitation. This journey will include an international team of scientists and intellectuals from various disciplines and will involve paddling more than 500 miles of the river.

If time and situations allow, I will try to make some posts along the expedition about what I am witnessing and contemplating. The trip may be specific to a single river, but the implications of the material discussed are much farther reaching. The scope and reach of these posts will be significantly more limited, but if just a few people are moved by the content then I suppose it serves some purpose. If nothing else, it will become a personal log of my thoughts and experiences. Thank you for reading!

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Moved...who would not be moved? It's remarkable (to me) that your magnificent photos make me think of the grand scheme of life, of eons and glacial transformation, while at the same time they bring to mind the blogs of @borjan. Have you seen his blogs? He looks at the minute, and sees the grand sweep of time in them, the evolving history of the planet. Check out his blog, if you haven't seen it, "Written in Stone".

Please share more pictures, take us on your journey, let us see through your eyes.

Thanks for all of your encouragement and for sharing that link...his blog is a really interesting examination of time! I will try to share with some regularity in the coming weeks and months.

A whole semester of immersive geology... My idea of heaven!

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Glad to know that I am not the only one...thanks for the comment!

Beauty and mistery. How well described @gra :)
I saw your post a couple of days ago and since then I have been meaning to return to let you know how thoughtful of you it is to share with us here this most wonderful journey among these ancient rocks! Their colour, their formation ... my Goodness! I am speechless. I will keep my fingers crossed for your circumstances allow you to keep on us up to date with your river exploration.

You guys take care :)
Best,
Abigail

Hi Abigail, thank you for the kind note! I am glad that you enjoyed the post and are looking forward to seeing more...I'll try to share soon!

This looks beautiful. I didn't know the existence of this marvel of nature (I am by far not a kayaker, but you managed to create an envy ;) ). Where are you based at the moment?

Thanks for the comment! I was never much of a kayaker before this summer...nor was I aware of the stunning lakeshore Northern Wisconsin has to offer. Now I'm hooked! We are based out of a little town called Bayfield in the heart of the Apostle Islands, but in another week I'll be leaving for the River Journey!

I should pay more attention the next time I will come to Wisconsin (I have been to Madison in 2010, some time ago, and I really enjoyed the lakes there (except that the weather was really bad)).

Good to have you here after a long time.

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