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Highlights I wanted to share, 

    the next stories, those I want to tell

Chris Claremont, a Brit by birth, is an American comic book writer and novelist, who worked for Marvel Comics. He once wrote, “The more stories I told, the more I found I wanted to tell. There was always something left unsaid. I got hooked by my own impulse of 'Well, what's gonna happen next?’”

That’s the way I feel about highlighting stuff about Wisconsin for you that cannot be left unsaid.

Claremont expresses my feeling perfectly: “What excites me, what attracts me, what gets me up in the morning is telling the next story and getting it out in front of readers and hoping they'll love it too.”

 There is no end to the stories I could tell. I hope you enjoy these.

St. Croix and Brule Rivers, their sources

Source of the St. Croix River

Source of the Brule River

This is a wackadoodle story that ended up as a lot of fun, despite the fact there was egg on my face!  My idea was to visit the Boise Brule River in northern Douglas County. It’s commonly known as the Brule. 

Looking at my map on the run, I concluded that  Lake Superior was the source of the Brule River and that it joined up with the St. Croix River to the south, after which it would meet up with the Mississippi southeast of Minneapolis.

This looked like a straightforward mission up Hwy 53, then escape and evade back and forth until I met up with the Brule. I would then track it to its source at Lake Superior.

A piece of cake.  I had not spent much time in this area, so getting excited about the ride was easy.

I managed to get to Hwy 13 and found a road that took me up to the Brule. I spotted these two women kayaking on the river.  I was impressed by how easily they were paddling upstream. I had done some kayaking and knew that it could be challenging. 

But the river did not show a lot of motion, so I waved and left.

At long last, I came upon Brule River Road and took it to the source, directly on Lake Superior.  

When I took the photo to your left, I thought I was looking downstream the Brule. I then did an about-face and took a photo of what I was sure was the source, shown on the right. 

In other words, the photo to the right, I thought, showed Lake Superior feeding the Brule for its southern journey to join the St. Croix. 

I stood there for several minutes staring at the river. Something did not look quite right. I searched for a leaf, picked one, and dropped it into the Brule. Oh no! The leaf floated out to Lake Superior rather than away from it. Oh my goodness, this can’t be right. So I grabbed a few more leaves and dropped them into the river. Sure enough, they all floated out to Lake Superior.

I returned to my car, pulled out the map, and studied it as carefully as possible. I was startled. This enlarged map graphic shows what I missed. The top red arrow points to the Brule, and the bottom points to the St. Croix. The blue arrows indicate the separation between the two. That separation is about a mile.

In short, the sources for these two rivers were up here, and they were separate from each other.

Not only that, I could see that County Road (CR) P runs smack-dab between the two rivers. I was stunned.

New mission: Get over to this area, pronto!

The large body of water shown in the lower left quadrant of the map graphic is the northeast end of Upper St. Croix Lake. Not shown in this graphic is the town of Solon Springs. I set my sights on Solon Springs, after which I would work to find CR P and figure out what was going on.

It was a fabulous August day at Solon Springs. I came upon Lucius Wood County Park, and the residents and tourists were all enjoying it, to be sure. It would have been easy for me to forget the Brule-St. Croix issue, but I had to press ahead and find CR P. 

Well, you might ask, what is the issue? The issue now was that we have two rivers, the Brule flowing northward and the St. Croix flowing southward, and their sources are separated by very little land in between. 

My education began quickly once I got on CR P. I was surprised and frankly relieved at how quickly I would find the answers. 

I found this great sign along CR P. 

It says a continental divide here “separates the watersheds of the Brule and St. Croix Rivers. The Brule flows north to Lake Superior, and the St. Croix flows southerly to the Mississippi.” 

This sign alerts visitors that Native Americans knew this and found a portage between the two. The portage is within the Brule River State Forest, which is nearby.

I later learned from Wisconsin Explorer that “the  Brule Glacial Spillway is a continental divide. Both the headwaters for the Bois Brule and St Croix Rivers originate here … Hikers along the Brule Bog trail cross St. Croix Creek before entering the heart of the Brule Bog.”

This is a look at the critical spot on CR P. You can see my car parked off to the right.  You might find this hard to fathom, but the water on the road's left or west side is the Brule's source. The water on the right-east side is the source of the St. Croix.

As an important aside, the proper title of this Brule River is the Bois Brule River, though it is most often referred to as the Brule.  Another Brule River forms a part of the border between Michigan and Wisconsin.

So this is my story about the Brule and St. Croix, and I’m sticking with it!


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