Skip navigation

Category Archives: Menomonie

I have been under the weather for a few days and haven’t been able to get out to photograph some great frost we had earlier in the week. So late in the afternoon I decided to take a short walk to start building up my energy. My wife decided to come along and suggested we get the snowshoes out but I concluded that the snow wasn’t deep enough. I was wrong.

There wasn’t a lot to photograph and we hadn’t gotten very far when it started to sleet. I managed a few photos of items in the snow.

Seed Pods

 

Winter Grass

 

Winter Grass

Advertisements

At the bottom Tripp Falls Ravine is a small spring fed stream that flows into the Red Cedar River. It is located about 1.5 miles outside Menomonie, Wisconsin.  Access to the area is via a short steep trail which leads into the ravine. In the winter it can be treacherous because the stream and the ravine floor may be solid ice. You can hike up the gully for about a half a mile although the most interesting sections are found within the first 400 yards. There are a variety of winter photographic opportunities which include the stream, frost, ice patterns,a large ice wall and several small waterfalls. Conditions vary a great deal in the winter. If it has been warm the stream will be open. If it has been cold the stream and the floor of the valley may be solid ice. If it has been really cold there may be a lot of frost shots. A short distance up the valley you will encounter a large ice wall and a 10 foot waterfall. It is possible but difficult to climb up the side of the waterfall. The climb over the waterfall can be a challenge on the snow and ice. There is a second small three foot waterfall about twenty yards above the larger waterfall. A sort walk above the smaller waterfall will lead you to the springs that feed the stream. I typically wear ice traction devices on my feet, during the winter, to prevent falls on the ice.  Because the ravine is vary narrow photographing on a sunny day is difficult. The best light is usually on a cloudy or overcast day.

As you walk down into the ravine you will encounter the small spring fed stream. The stream itself is not large but offers a variety of shots. During transition seasons and during periods of warming and cooling the stream offers shots of the ice formations along the edge of the stream. When the stream is completely frozen and the temperatures are below zero you have the chance to shoot patterns in the ice and frost that forms on the ice.

 

If you time your visit just right you can photograph ice covered leaves, twigs and ice formations that remind you of diamonds. This opportunity may occur for only a few days during the transition periods when the ice is first forming or is melting.

As you walk up the stream you will encounter large ice walls along the sides of the ravine. Throughout the year water seeps from the cliffs and during the winter producing these large ice walls.  After a short walk up the stream you will also encounter the first of two waterfalls.

This shot shows the waterfall and ice formations at the end of the ravine.

This is the largest at about 10 feet and is not so much a waterfall as water tumbling down over a sandstone slope. At times the water is open and at other times it is frozen completely over. Normally there are opportunities for shooting ice patterns along the waterfall.

To continue up the ravine you must climb along one side the waterfall. This can be a bit treacherous since it is usually solid ice. Once on the top you can walk up the stream a short distance to the second waterfall. This one is only about 3 feet but is a free falling waterfall. There are usually some ice formations around the waterfall but nothing spectacular.

At this point I usually stop but if you can get up over the waterfall you can continue to walk up the gully for quite a ways. The springs provide the water for the stream are found about 100 yards above the waterfall. There used to be a nice ladder to help get over the waterfall but it was destroyed by vandals.

You can find additional photos and driving directions to Tripp Falls on my website.

It snowed overnight so once we were done blowing snow we headed down to the Red Cedar State Trail for some Cross Country Skiing. It was a beautiful day but as usual this winter no one else was around. The trail had not been groomed after the overnight snowfall. There were a lot of deer tracks on the trail and we finally noticed a couple of them watching us ski.

The winter Sumac was beautiful against the blue sky.

 

The ice was is still in good winter condition. We were disappointed that there did not appear to be any eagles in the two nests across from the ice wall.

No snow storms recently so I’ve had to photograph birds on bright sunny days.

Northern Cardinal

Black-capped Chickadee

Dark-eyed Junco

Downy Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

We had several very frosty mornings and most of the flowers and grasses on the Prairie were covered in frost. More frost photos can be found on my website.

 

Once again we decided to head down to the Red Cedar Trail for some Cross Country Skiing. It was supposed to start warming up but on this morning it was only about 9 degrees. It was cold enough that there was some frost on the trees just south of Irvington. The weather report for the rest of the week was for 30 and 40 degree temperatures which are too warm for skiing. Look like this was our last chance to ski for a while.

The winter cattails were very striking against the snow.

About the 5 mile mark on the trail the snow from the previous day was still hanging on the trees.

I love to photograph birds in a snowstorm. I managed to catch these cardinals one afternoon.

 

 

After blowing snow we decided to drive down to the Red Cedar State Trail and check on conditions. As it turned out the trail had not been groomed after a foot of heavy wet snow. Someone had broken trail for about 100 yards but after that we ended up being the only people on the trail. It was really beautiful with the trees covered in wet snow. We decided to ski down to the ice wall located about a mile and a half up the trail.

 

When we reached the ice wall we started looking to see if any eagles were around. My wife spotted two of them on their favorite perch above the ice wall. While we were photographing the ice wall they flew across the river to their nest. We watched as they seemed to be cleaning the snow out of the nest.

 

With all of the cold weather we decided to stop and look at the Devil’s Punchbowl. It was very impressive. Hardly any of the ice had fallen off of the wall because it has been so cold. A shot of Linda looking at the ice wall. More photos from Devil’s Punchbowl can be found on my website.

The cold weather has resulted in huge ice flows and the bottom of the ravine is covered with a huge ice flow. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

I managed a few photos of leaves encased in the ice.

When we woke up it was -17 and no wind. I knew it would be a great day to find some frost along the Red Cedar State Trail. I planned on going alone but my wife didn’t want me out in this weather by myself so she decided to come along. When we arrived at the Irvington Parking Lot we could see the frost covering the trees. We skied south on the trail for a short distance because that is where the best frost can be found. More photos from the Red Cedar Trail cam be found on my website.

We were really cold because I was stopping for photos all the time. As long as we were on the trail we decided to ski down to the ice wall that forms every winter along the trail. It was difficult skiing because there were quite a few places along the trail where ice was overflowing the trail. In addition, there was barely enough snow to set a track. the ice wall was in peak winter condition.