My first visit to this area was in cold January 2008, and I stopped in Eau Claire City. I had a hard time getting my bearings because I knew the Eau Claire emptied into the Chjppewa River here. I hung out in the industrial area near the hydro dam crossing the Chippewa, and was fascinated by the Old Northwestern Railroad Bridge just downstream the dam.
A note on the Chippewa River. Eau Claire City is in the Lower Chippewa River Basin. The entire basin encompasses 15 counties, 24 watersheds, and 5,300 square miles extending from below the Holcombe Flowage dam in northern Chippewa County to the Mississippi River. The basin lies on the west edge of the Wisconsin Dome, which stretches across northern Wisconsin. The basin dips slowly to the south, east and west from the higher points to the northeast. This particular area has a great history, starting with logging, sawmilling and fur trading in the 1800s, to agriculture and dairy farming, hydroelectric generation, and industrial enterprises.
This is the Old Northwestern Railroad Bridge spanning the Chippewa. You can see an industrial complex straight ahead and to the right, dominated by the Cascades Tissue Group and Xcel Energy. You can see a bit of the hydro dam left center.
I worked hard to get this shot of the old bridge, from First St. on the west side of the Chippewa.
To me it is a real monument to early architecture.
I’d like to point out the embankment you see here. I took a few shots from the other side, and will show you two.
Following the visit to Eau Claire City, and having seen the Chippewa River, I decided to hunt down the Eau Claire River.
I found her out in the woods by taking CH K which cross the Eau Claire due east of the city. This is an upstream shot, a beauty for this time of the year.
This is the Eau Claire looking downstream as she loops around on her way to Big Falls and the Eau Claire City.
I’m now taking a “get lost” route through Eau Claire County back toward Wausau. This section is still in the Central Plains Geographic Province and you can see the land is fairly flat. But as you take CH XX northward you enter the Northern Highlands geographic province so you start encountering some hills and ridges.