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Opinion

Exploring River Falls’ landmarks provides new adventures

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November 6, 2008

I wonder how well I would be able to map out an area like a city without ever seeing a map of the area prior to the mapping. Probably pretty well, however, I will never find out unless I was to be dropped off somewhere blindfolded.

Exploring could be fun. Discovering new coffee shops, a farmer’s market, a good deal on jeans or just an awesome view is thrilling. So when a town the size of River Falls becomes a bore, I find comfort in a walk or a bike ride to somewhere unfamiliar.

When airplane rides costs money and time, I can explore the town I reside in or venture out to nearby towns. How about a sŽance at the Native American burial grounds in Hudson? Or a night of fine dining in Prescott? Being a suburban Minnesota native, I have recently been prone to the underground tourism of western Wisconsin.

More often than not people are turned off from River Falls because of its lack of culture and “things to do.” The few considerable bars are too smoky, campy and sleazy among the tainted with pure skeez. Fortunately, with the coffee shops gaining popularity perhaps other local businesses of downtown River Falls will see an increase in public interest.

Besides the tasty cup of coffee and a new brew of Rush River available in local shops, there are places in town that have been unseen by citizens that have resided here for years and years. This town is named after an actual physical feature.

The falls of the Kinnickinnic River are located not far from Cascade Avenue. How do people miss this feature? It’s under the swinging bridge – another site that is somehow overlooked as well. Follow the river north and even more waterfalls will be found.

Did you know that there are two man-made lakes in River Falls that follow two dams? Along the river are caves and a wigwam-like hut and paths that are either dirt or stone. There are trees that hang so generously and allow for an easy climb. A climb will almost always mean a better view of the river valley.

A memorial tombstone on the opposite side of the waters from a legitimate cemetery in the woods both rests along the Kinni. Sandbars and nude beaches are a bit farther south; just follow the sounds of acoustic guitars to spot them.

Fire pits and ash lay from past visitors. Makeshift bridges over the river’s forks become summer hangouts. Maybe wave at the fly fisherman standing in the middle of the wide river.

Unfortunately, it seems as though in the recent years college students have bad luck with rivers. You could be one of the few that have climbed the water towers or you could go to Mounds Park.

Hike to the top near the big, ugly water tank in the woods and you’ll find a wooden bench to admire downtown from above. Want more height? Golfview Road, a hairpin road going up, is similar to a mountain street and will bring you above Highway 35.

Everywhere I have ever lived I find these quirks of the towns and am eager to share them. Although I would actually prefer to have a point of interest shared with me as well. Share your discoveries?

Teresa Aviles is a student at UW-River Falls.