To the Vermilion

To the Vermillion

A slight bit off the beaten path of Matthiessen State Park, lies this canyon leading to the Vermilion River. We attempted to hike to the river, but were not prepared to wade through the freezing water (and of course, did not want to wander off into unauthorized areas). The water level was a bit higher than normal, covering the trail a bit too much for winter weather. Looking closely at some of the trees near the stream, we could see evidence of much higher water levels not too long ago. Ice still clung to the trunks of the trees at the height of the previous freeze - about four feet higher than the level in this photo. More evidence of high water was seen elsewhere in the canyon, where a small wooden foot bridge was moved a couple of hundred meters away from its usual spot.

 The light in the canyon always interests me, but especially in winter. Such warm earth tones on the sunlit rock walls, in contrast to the cold ice and snow, combined with the shaded side that appears only in gray tones. Hiking and photographing the canyons gave us the impression it was much later in the day due to the shade of the steep canyon walls, even though our journey ended before lunch.

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