Fargo, North Dakota
The Red River of the North begins in the small northwestern Minnesota community of Breckenridge. At the confluence of the Otter Tail and Bois de Sioux Rivers, the mighty Red River begins its journey north to Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. Much of the 395 miles (635 km) the river flows in the United States but the last 158 miles (255 km) flows in Canada. The United States portion of the river acts as a border between the states of North Dakota and Minnesota. By the time the river travels about 40 miles (64 km) to Fargo, North Dakota and sister city, Moorhead, Minnesota; the river grows in depth to an average of around 16 feet (4.8 m). During spring, and sometime summer flooding, though, the river can easily rise much higher than its defined 18 foot (5.5 m) flood stage. In recent years, significant flooding brought the river level to greater than 40 feet (12 m).
On this mid-October day, however, the river is docile and serene. On beautiful fall days, many locals find an excuse to spend some time near the river. One of the popular riverside destinations is Lindenwood Park, located at about the north-to-south midpoint of the city. Lindenwood Park is the largest city park with all the amenities of any urban park. Visitors can even overnight in several camping areas. Space is limited, however, so travelers should make sure a camp site is available for their tent or RV.
At the northerly end of Lindenwood Park there is an unusual pedestrian bridge connecting North Dakota to Minnesota at Moorhead’s Gooseberry Park. The current bridge was constructed in 2012 and replaced a wooden structure that routinely had to be removed when water levels rose much above minimal flood stage. The new bridge is a permanent structure with large towers at each end. During river flooding, the bridge deck can be raised safely above the river raging below. Once lifted above its normal height, however, the bridge is closed to traffic as the approaches flood at the bridge’s normal height.
On this fall day, the temperature would rise to 71 degrees F (21 degrees C). Clear skies and calm winds in the morning gave way to a slight breeze that rippled the surface creating sunny reflections that danced upon the water.
A paved road meanders through the park past picnic shelters, ball diamonds, playground equipment and camp sites, eventually paralleling the winding river. Vehicle traffic is slowed by speed bumps along the way and pedestrians can choose to walk along the edge of the roadway, or along a pathway at the edge of the river.
Even though the day of our journey through the park was temperate, the bare trees told a story of cold early morning temperatures and high winds in recent days. The strong winds stripped many of the trees and created a deep, colorful ground cover.
The mirror-like reflection on the calm water would soon turn to mosaic as the breeze came up. This view of the unique northerly flowing river is from the Moorhead, Minnesota side of the pedestrian bridge. This gallery of images was collected with a Nikon D7000 camera and Tamron 18-270 MM lens.