Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wisconsin Mountains

One normally does not associate Wisconsin and mountains. One certainly would not imagine a mountain rising right out of the Mississippi River. Yet one does.

The upper Mississippi is bluff country. South of St. Paul, Minnesota the river has a few hundred miles of 500+ ft tall bluffs. The "gorge" is usually a few miles across. There is one rather unique location where the river cut through the bluff and has made "mountains". Just south of Winona, Minnesota geologists tell us that the bluff stuck out toward what is now Wisconsin. The river once ran east of that bluff but at some point at the end of the last ice age the channel became clogged with debris from the melting glaciers and the river cut through the bluff where side streams had weakened and already started the erosion process. That process cut off the old point and made mountains that are now in Wisconsin.

Today those mountains are a Wisconsin State Park.

Here is the view from the top toward Mt. Trempealeau. The mountain that rises out of the Mississippi River. Signs in the park tell that name Trempealeau comes from the French explorers meaning something like "mountain with water bathing it's feet".

The far bluffs are in Minnesota and they are less than a mile apart from where I am in Wisconsin as I look upstream on the river.

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