Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Monster of Lake Calhoun, A Day Canoeing in the Twin Cities

Some may doubt our story of a monster, but we have seen it rise from the clear depths and swim alongside our canoe. It paused as if to say, this is my home and I am hungry. Do people here in Minneapolis know such a monster exists? Know now and keep your pets and children from Lake Calhouns waters........
Jenny and Vito were both working so we decided to go canoeing at the Chain of Lakes Park. Its in downtown Minneapolis and consists of three connected lakes, Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake, and Lake Calhoun.
We launched the canoe from a dock, near the eastern end of Lake of the Isles and headed west toward Cedar Lake. We quickly passed a mother duck and her ducklings and Renita snapped pictures of bluegills.
Passing under a bridge we entered the narrow waterway that connects Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake. Its pretty overgrown with aquatic weeds, from all the lawn fertilizers, but still an easy paddle. We were going without the stabilizers and the canoe sliced through the water. like a racing kayak, or so it seemed to us.
Entering Cedar Lake we headed to Hippie Beach,(East Cedar Lake Beach), for lunch, where a small group of sun worshipers were getting their vitamin a in mega doses. No drums beats echoed across the water, had the drummers been arrested(see last years blog)?
Eating lunch we headed towards the far shore and as we paralleled the edge Renita pointed out a long large fish, a muskie. I kind of wished I had a fishing licensee but the sight of the fish and its tiger stripped sides was enough to make the day. Little did I know!
We neared a pair of loons that were diving and feeding and watched a mother duck swimming across the lake. She had in tow nine newly hatched ducklings, and we wondered if she knew the danger she was exposing them to.
As she neared the loons the male rose in a threat display and then another. She frantically quacked to urge her ducklings to swim faster, when the male loon displayed again and then charged. The mother dropped back to protect her brood and to provide a shield for her little ones.
Seeming to escape the loon's ire they continued to paddle when the loon dove and then reappeared attacking the small babies. The mother duckling turned and fought the much larger loon as the little ducklings seemed to walk on water.
She didn't win the fight, she was so much smaller then the loon,but she did manage to turn his frenzy, allowing the brood to escape. Rejoining it she led them across the lake and into the safe haven of a small beach.
We glided back into the narrow passageway where a muskrat swam past us, dove and then resurfaced. It started to lunch on some of the water vegetation and seemed unconcerned with our canoe passing nearby. It must have been really tasty seaweed!
Entering Lake of the Isles we headed toward the larger islands. One is a wildlife refuge and landing on it is prohibited, so we paralleled its shore and watched the many geese and green headed mallards.
Our next goal was Lake Calhoun and so we rowed through the canal and under the two bridges. Now lake Calhoun is much larger and last year a sailboat class had provided entertainment as we watched them overturn their boats and crash into one another. Only one sailboat was out and we were getting tired so we paused before heading back, when the monster appeared.
Now I have caught shark and bull black and red drum. We both have caught and released large northern,(my best is 43 inches and Renitas is 42 inches long, and so we have seen many large fish under water.
This brown shape appeared alongside the canoe and I know it was over 50 inches long, and that's being conservative. It was the largest fresh water fish we have ever seen, and it lives in the Twin Cities. We talked with a fisherman on the bank and he didn't act surprised as he said he had seen it attack bluegills as fisherman were bringing them in.
The fish swam lazily around us and Renita tried to take its image but it was too deep and all you can see is the brown looking log in the upper part of the image.Believe us if you want to or not, it makes no never mind to us for we both know that a monster lives in Lake Calhoun. We have seen it! Clear skies.

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