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They Emptied Little Falls Lake, So We Walked In It or...the Great WIllow River State Park Drawdown of 2015

Blake texted me a few days ago saying that he was coming this weekend with his friend Justin. I'm loving having guests this month. The morning after they arrived I made my famous breakfast.

"Grace."

It's an inside joke. Sort of.

It was going to be 50 degrees today so we decided to go hiking at nearby Willow River State Park in Wisconsin. Scott's dad had gifted us a Wisconsin State Park pass for Christmas and today seemed like a good day to go.

Meadow didn't want to go hiking. Instead she stopped for every branch and played in the icy snow.

I guess Justin and Blake weren't in a rush either.

We weren't sure what this was for.

I have been trying to convince Scott for awhile now that we should vlog. He hates the idea. The other day while talking to my friend Cevonne she mentioned that we should do video blogs. I told Scott we should at least try it so today was our first video day. I am using our trusty flip video camera.

I'm not sure I'll ever get to that video. This a photo blog after all.

When we arrived we noticed that the lake looked like it had been drained. It turns out that Little Falls Lake was in danger of dam failure. They drewdown the lake preemptively.

Brooke and Blake took the lower deer path along a lakeside bluff.

We were bored with following the icy paved path like everyone else.

We took the upper deer path.

Justin and I beat them to our meeting point.

Right before this Scott slipped with the Flip camera in his back pocket. When he got up I remembered I had handed it to him when we put Meadow in the Ergo.

I'm kind of a klutz.

I told him he fell on the camera and probably broke it. I was joking, but he did actually end up cracking the screen making the viewfinder unusable. I had to use the camera while guessing where I was shooting.

I decided we should avoid the bluff for a while. We lost Blake as he rushed on ahead.

The rest of us explored the Willow River drawdown.

Blake also shared his news that he is now a land owner just outside of Duluth.

Justin got behind us while collecting items.

He made some art along the way.

So how do we get across and where is Blake?

There was a certain beauty to freshly exposed land.


I later read that the Wisconsin DNR is planning on replacing the dam. Too bad. It seems we should be removing dams at this point.

Meadow called for Blake yelling, "Blake where you? It's time, it's pizza time!" Thinking that pizza was going to lure him back.

Blake found us thanks to Justin's directions.

Justin picked a cattail for Meadow.


Meadow liked exploring just as much as Justin.

We found some of the last frozen water in the area. I don't think we'll see much snow until next fall.

 I love how the leaves imprinted themselves in the ice.

We eventually made it back on the main trail towards the waterfall.

We had parked as far away from the waterfall as possible on accident.

The park was pretty busy today due to the mild weather. With all the foot traffic the high traffic areas packed down and turned to ice. Getting down the hill to the waterfall wasn't easy.

I usually slip in these situations, but my work boots did wonders.

There be Willow Falls.

We climbed up for another view.

Instead of taking the icy main trail back we took a shortcut on the snowshoe trail. It ended up being just as icy in some spots with steep hills.

This was a bit nerve-wracking.

Eventually we got to the top of the incline.

Blake and I decided on a slightly longer way back. Scott wasn't very pleased.

Blake and Brooke always tend to take meandering paths.

Meadow insisted on wanting to walk, but was too distracted.

She thought we'd be back in the car by now. A few minutes later we were on our way out of the park.

The real reason the guys came down for the weekend was for a play at the Heart of the Beast Theatre. We were supposed to make sushi before hand, but hiking took longer than we planned.

Pair of Dice seemed like a decent option. Cheap and close to our house.

The next day we convinced the guys to stick around a little longer. Justin was supposed to feed a friends cat, but decided it could wait until later.

Poor cat.

I thought Blake and Justin might enjoy the Como Conservatory. I had been wanting to take Meadow soon anyway.

It's a good opportunity for people watching and plant shooting.

Meadow was very interested in all the flowers. She touched each one delicately and said, "Ooo!"

Everyones a photographer nowadays.

We may have to make her a flower garden this year.

Maybe she'll have her Great Grandma Wojcik's green thumb.


I think the last time I took Meadow here she just wanted to run everywhere. Now that she's a little older she actually stops to look at things. 

The boys also enjoyed the scenery.

They had to get back to Duluth, but they let Meadow play for a little while longer. We checked the primate exhibit at the zoo and called it a weekend.

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