Its Own Magazine

Turns out the Mississippi River has its own magazine. I have finally finished reading my latest issue of Big River, which covers news of the Mississippi River from Minneapolis, MN, down to Muscatine, Iowa. Its byline is “Covering the heart of the Driftless Area for 24 years,” although there is usually some news about the Twin Cities. (The Driftless area includes Hastings and Red Wing, as well as La Crosse and Prairie du Chien in Wisconsin, Dubuque and the Quad Cities in Iowa, Galena in Illinois.) It is published six times a year here in Winona.

I devour this magazine. First I read all the Big River News segments, which give updates on everything from the Gulf of Mexico’s Dead Zone to a new plastic pollution problem:  tiny plastic particles from people’s microfiber jackets. Besides environmental issues, these paragraphs cover items like a new bike rental system in Clinton, IA, and an expansion of the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. My favorite tells of a new happy hour in St. Paul – the Kellogg Park Craft Beer Overlook: 3 to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays till mid-October. This September-October issue also has a special sidebar detailing and picturing which ditch weeds to NOT PICK because some part of them is poisonous (poison hemlock, giant hogweed, wild parsnip, and cow parsnip).

Feature articles range from “A Tale of Two Neighborhoods”, about North Mpls. and Northeast Mpls, to a short two-pager on kestrels. For the exploring traveler, an article details sights and places between La Crosse, WI to Winona, MN. Restaurant and book reviews are regular features, as are lots of glossy ads – I don’t mind because they are for things and places that interest me.

I just checked, and Big River is available at Minneapolis’ Central Library, but only for “in-house” use. I’ll bring some back copies next time I get to BBC (Blevins Book Club – see top left of this “page”, under Blogroll).

What river, anywhere in the world, would you like to explore?

26 thoughts on “Its Own Magazine”

  1. Hmmm…. hard to pin just one down. I’d love to do a cruise/bike on the Rhein, paddle on the Amazon, whitewater on the Colorado through the Grand Canyon. But if I just get one then maybe I’ll go with a trip down (up?) the Nile!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Rise and Explore Baboons,

    I still must finish exploring the Mississippi, which I admit, I love and which has fascinated me since reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as a kid. Mark Twain is such a colorful character to have arisen from the Mississippi River culture. I have seen most of the Big River, except the Headwaters and the last third from Memphis to th eGulf. Yes, that is on the bucket list.

    The Amazon is the other one they fascinates me. Candice Millard’s book River of Doubt about Teddy Roosevelt’s adventure there was alternately fascinating and horrifying.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I felt like River of Doubt told me more about the personality of Roosevelt than it did about the Amazon. Another Amazon-themed book I’d recommend is Redmond O’Hanlon’s In Trouble Again, which, among other attributes, is hilarious.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Some fascinating histories of the Mississippi have come out in the last few years, Wicked River by Lee Sandlin and Old Man River by Paul Schneider. I’ve read them both and they’re full of stories about the river and river towns and characters especially from the time before the river was engineered.

    Also The Last River Rat by J Scott Bestul, which I remember Clyde mentioning but which I haven’t read myself yet.


    1. The best book on this topic that I have read is Mississippi Solo, by Eddy Harris. Harris, a black man, canoed the length of the river, starting at Lake Itasca. He had some interesting experiences.

      When he got to Lake Bemidji, Harris went to town for supplies. His canoe was gone when he returned to where he’d left it. He was shocked and angered. A local woman asked what was wrong. He told her about his canoe being stolen.

      She replied: “Stolen? No, that didn’t happen. We don’t steal canoes in Minnesota. Tell me, what sort of knot did you use to tie it up?”

      She was able to find the canoe nearby where it had washed up by the wind.


  4. I would explore the Elbe, the Weser, and the Aller, three rivers in northern Germany that go through towns and cities my ancestors lived in. The Elbe goes through Hamburg, the Aller goes through Verden and Achim, and the Weser goes through Bremen. We saw them on our trip last year, and I wish we could have spent more time to explore them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. In the fall of 1967 I met the man who would become my closest buddy and companion on outdoor adventures. Bill asked me about pheasant hunting. Having grown up in Iowa, pheasants were the bird of my youth. Bill said he grew up hunting ruffed grouse. While we were still strangers, we struck a bargain. I would teach Bill about pheasants and he would teach me about grouse.

    A year later Bill took me grouse hunting. We slept in a tiny trailer parked on a forested hill owned by a friend of Bill’s. Having driven north on a Friday after college classes, we got to that land well after dark. To get to the trailer we hiked along a ridge through a Norway pine forest.

    It was early October. The air was filled with the rich tangy odor of frost-struck ferns and decaying leaves. We didn’t need flashlights, for the moon lit the forest almost like daylight. Our trail to the trailer was on a rdige about a hundred feet above a creek that was just big enough it could have carried a canoe. The creek glinted like molten silver in the moonlight.

    “Bill, that creek is gorgeous. Does it have a name?”

    “That’s the Mississippi River. We’re a few miles from Lake Itasca.”

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I love the Mississippi and Rhine rivers, and consider myself fortunate to have explored large sections of both of them. I’d love to take the Mississippi Queen from St. Paul to New Orleans, wouldn’t that be fun?

    I’d love to take a cruise on the Danube. It passes through some great cities and beautiful landscapes. The Volga is another river that fascinates me.


        1. Yes, and we enjoyed the bit of cruising we got to do. Through no fault of Viking, the rivers were so high that the cruise ships couldn’t get under the bridges on the Rhone River in S. France. They had alternate plans that involved a lot more bussing than cruising – but we were happy once we got on board.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m drawn to smaller rivers – creeks. There are several in Duluth that I would like to explore more: Kingsbury, Chester, Tischer, Lester…

    Also, going up the north shore there are many, many, many rivers or creeks that I would like to explore. One of my favorites is Jonvick Creek.


  8. The Mississippi south of Dubuque is a stretch I’ve yet to see.

    In Europe, the rivers that are close to the places from which my forbears came would probably be the Rhine and the Danube. I’m not much of a traveler, but if I ever took a trip abroad, that would be a good place to start.


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