Cascade River SP, Grand Marais, Minnesota, USA by Bryan Hansel

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Picture Story

This vertical image of the Cascades of the Cascade River is the classic shot of this waterfall in Cascade River State Park. The park is located just five miles from my house, so I end up there often. As the year progresses the waterfall changes in appearance. This shot shows it in near spring flood levels. The Lower Cascade River Loop Trail in a half of a mile leads you past three significant waterfalls and dozens of small drops. While there are hundreds of waterfalls along Minnesota's north shore of Lake Superior, few hikes have as many per mile as this one.

On this day in mid-May, the snow and ice had finally completely melted from the basalt canyon's edges and the trails were finally icefree, but the melting snow in the woods created a slight fog. When I left my house, the clouds had just started to clear and I hoped to get to the waterfall before they cleared completely. Because overcast skies lead to silkier water and more peaceful waterfall shots. Once there, I used the Singh-Ray Bryan Hansel Waterfall Polarizer, a filter I designed with Singh-Ray, to shoot the image. The filter is a combination of an LB Neutral filter and a 3-stop ND filter with just a dash of secret sauce.

Shortly after finished the hike, the fog cleared to a blue sky day.

The Cascade River itself runs approximately 17 miles and drops about 1,200 feet in that length. The majority of the drop happens over its last few miles before it flows into Lake Superior. From the top of the Cascades it drops approximately 175 feet before it reaches the big lake. Each of the major falls that it drops over is classic.

In the spring when water levels are high, whitewater kayaks come from all over the country run this river and the many other along Minnesota's north shore.


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