St. Louis River Hustles Through Jay Cooke State Park

The St. Louis River on Saturday, looking upstream from the Swinging Bridge. (Sam Cook photo)

I figured the St. Louis River would be rolling along well at Jay Cooke State Park just west of Duluth today, so the yellow dog and I went to take a look. We weren’t disappointed. The river was tumbling over its bed of slate and greywacke as if it were impatient to get to Lake Superior. From the new Swinging Bridge (rebuilt after the June 2012 flood), the dog and I had a drone’s eye view of the action – a churning, rootbeer-colored flow the park officials estimated at 20,000 cubic feet per second. Most of us in this neck of the woods, I suspect, are fine with all of that winter being carried away. The water was running at 32.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S.G.S. gauge upstream at Scanlon. It’s hard not to be moved – figuratively and literally – standing on that bridge witnessing such a chaos of current. The bridge sways and bounces a bit with every move. Swing out to the Swinging Bridge if you get a chance. A daily park sticker is $5 per vehicle.

The St. Louis River tumbles over a small drop in Jay Cooke State Park. (Sam Cook photo)
Standing waves form in the St. Louis River downstream from the Swinging Bridge at Jay Cooke State Park. (Sam Cook photo)
Meanwhile, on shore, winter melts into the St. Louis River one drop at a time from riverside icicles. (Sam Cook photo)