That time we drank root beer when portaging around Taylors Falls

Rivers connect. Look at a contemporary map. You will find towns and cities with tangled stories dotting river banks around the world. This is no accident, rivers connect.


Casual street crossing in downtown Taylors Falls. Photo credit Jake Armour.

Taylors Falls, MN is a town steeped in stories and is located adjacent to river waterfalls titled with the same name. When thru-paddling the St. Croix River, one must portage the 1.5 miles around the falls. This means you get to carry through a town- we chose the Minnesota side of things which led us to root beer heaven and much laughter.


Canoe parking was a first for the staff at The Drive-In in Taylors Falls.


Photo credit Jake Armour.


Cheers! Photo credit Jake Armour.

Portaging is often the bane of canoe trips for many. For us, this portage became one of the highlights on the 235 mile Namekagon and St. Croix River leg of the Three Rivers Expedition.The 20 minute impromptu stop at The Drive In nourished our social needs and provided a kick-butt sugar boost that I would recommend to all my ‘portagers’ out there.


Another (not so usual) day on the streets of downtown Taylors Falls. Photo credit Jake Armour.


IMG_4257All smiles and prayers on the portage around Taylors Falls. Photo credit Jake Armour.

The overland carry marked a major transition in the journey. It moved us from the upper St. Croix secluded in nature and sparse with humans, to the lower St. Croix where motorboats roam and our daily trash removal weights began to significantly increase.

On the down river side of town, our sugarfied crew entered into Interstate State Park where glacial potholes and exposed rock cliff make up the river bank.

FullSizeRender(4)Photo credit Jake Armour.


Yes indeed rivers connect. These arteries of the earth carry both the natural and supernatural. They always seem to know their course and choose to carry on with confidence.


As we dropped back into the river we became connected with the past as we shared the river way with the Taylors Falls Princess.


IMG_3647 Sharing the river with steamboats. Photo credit Grant Armour.

The moral of the story is rivers connect and bring unexpected opportunity.

And if you ever are fortunate enough to find a root beer drive-in while portaging, I strongly encourage you to take the time to stop.


-Michael “Brother Spectrum” Anderson



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