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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Leash Hike: White Water Park

Barker-Stewart Island
Due to Charlie's blatant disregard for recall commands during yesterday's hike, I decided we would do a leash-walk along the Wisconsin River's River Edge Parkway today. We headed out toward downtown Wausau around 11:30am, merged onto the River Edge Parkway behind the Eye Clinic and went across the foot bridge to Barker-Stewart Island to do a lap around the trail and take a moment to watch the river as it lazily flowed past.

Remnants of original saw mill on island.
 
Train bridge on West side of island.
View of pedestrian bridge and downtown Wausau from East side of island.
After our lap around the island, we headed back to the River Edge Parkway and continued under the Scott St. bridge and behind the Marathon County Public Library where the dam for the White Water Park is located.
 
River Edge Parkway under Scott St. - hydro dam to the right.
Once we got behind the library, there's a short set of stairs that take you below the dam where kayakers enter the water at the top of the course.
 
Descending the stairs to the kayak launch platform below dam.
 
On the kayak launch platform looking upriver towards dam.
Charlie especially enjoys this spot to take a break, get a drink and explore along the shore. From here we crossed the street and headed down towards the White Water Park.
 
 

The River Edge Parkway continues along behind the seating area for the White Water Park and all the way down to Isle of Ferns Park. The picture below shows the beginning of the white water course as well as distant Rib Mountain and Granite Peak Ski Area in the background - with snow still on the slopes!

 
 
Ground seating along white water course.

Newly remodeled viewing area along course.
Here's a short video of the babbling water flowing over the boulders, followed by an impatient *BARK* from Charlie:
 

 
We got a little further down the trail when "nature called" and apparently the bathrooms are not open for the season yet, so we turned back and headed towards home, taking the Parkway through the undeveloped gap where it reconnects under Bridge Street. I had to steer Charlie around piles of broken glass, garbage and boards with nails sticking out of them... tempted to let her off-leash to run but too worried that she'd hurt herself on something.
 
Abandoned buildings along future expansion of parkway trail.
Once back on the trail, I started watching for river otters. I had spotted a pair of otters in this part of the river last year and am always on the lookout for them. Instead, I saw a dead deer in the water. What is it with finding death on all our walks?! Just a part of nature, I guess.
 
 
Charlie was really tired after two hours of walking. I was ready to go longer and just might go out again this evening by myself. It's been awhile since I've been on a solo walk (without dog) and think it might do me some good to have time to myself, untethered.