the Driftless Area

I live in a geographically beautiful area. 

view from Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa looking toward the bridge between Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and Marquette, Iowa

view from Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa looking toward the bridge between Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and Marquette, Iowa

Summertime in the Mississippi River valley is beautiful.

Oh, who am I kidding? Anytime in this river valley is beautiful. 

January sunset looking from Alma, Wisconsin towards the Minnesota bluffs

January sunset looking from Alma, Wisconsin towards the Minnesota bluffs

I love the four seasons (except the hot muggy in the dog days of summer). The river draws bald eagles, fishing boats, barges, and tourists. Its backwaters attract white egrets and great blue herons in the summer and in winter, little towns of ice fishing houses. 

This area of the Mississippi River valley--southwest Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota , northeast Iowa, and northwest Illinois--is called the Driftless area.  It's an area that escaped the "drift" of the last glaciers retreat.

But, the deep river valleys were carved by the force of megafloods from the melting of ice dams that held in the gigantic glacial Lake Agassiz and the smaller glacial lakes Duluth and Grantsberg.

Imagine the torrential power of that ice cold water, filling these valleys to the brim, cutting out the faces of the bluffs? It gives me goosebumps when I stand on top of a hill and overlook the valley. I am so minuscule and frail next to the noise and rush of those melting glacier waters.  In comparison, the largest watershed in the U.S. of our grand Mississippi River and its tributaries pales and becomes insignificant.

As a child, I took swimming lessons in the river and enjoyed the waves that the barges caused. Now I enjoy the beauty of the valley and watching the bird life.