Angle to Key West: Fading Duluth (9/3)

St. Louis River near New Duluth, MN – September 3, 2012

Duluth’s harbor is a maze of industry. Giant grain silos rise into the sky near ore docks, piles of coal form black mountains, a thousand vessel visits a year move 40 million tons of goods. From a kayak all you see is a tangle of docks and the hulls of freighters rising like steel cliffs.

But industry can’t go forever. As the water thins, metal and machines slide away, replaced by grass and mud. Mechanical sounds fade too, motors no longer whirl, belts loading ships don’t spin, they become nothing but echoes that disappear into the ripple of water and wind.

It feels like Florida, like the sleepy backwaters on the edge of river and ocean. I stare at logs expecting to see Alligators.

For a few moments, I don’t think about the five dams and rapids on the horizon or the Savanna Portage waiting behind them. I just watch civilization trickle away and think about how good the wild feels.

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