They said the high today was 43. After a couple of days in single digits, this sounded like a situation I could handle. I knew it would be colder on the river, but I thought, forty-three. We can do forty-three.
But 43 is the high. The day started at 20, you know. And even though the sun had been up for several hours by the time we parked the cars at North Riverview Park to catch the waiting, warm shuttle bus to the bridge, it certainly was closer to 20 than to 43.
It was a small group, thank goodness (the Chain of Rocks Bridge makes me a little scared even with just my own two kids. I know, there are railings. I know, people don't tend to pitch over the sides accidentally. But I worry. The Chain of Rocks Bridge combines my three irrational fears:
3. Old Industrial Spaces of Any Kind
So I was glad when we only had 6 brave girl scouts out of my troop of 18. We did it in two cars, and Mike came to keep Maeve corralled.
Back to that 43 vs. 20 thing. It was pretty close to 20, but we got to the entrance to the bridge and were able to go see a World Bird Sanctuary program with a rescued eagle named McGwire. It was in a tent. Then we looked at a replica of an eagle's nest. A little windy, but not so bad. After that, though, we headed up onto the bridge towards the viewing stations and "warming tent" in the center.
This is when I realized that one of the girls didn't have boots or athletic shoes on, but keens, you know, what I consider to be creek shoes. Great for summer--they have a good sole, they wrap around your foot, but they have holes in them.
I reworked some scarves (some of the scarves we made in a troop meeting, in fact, in the Biggest Hit of the Year). I reassured the girl in the keens that her feet would make it and be fine, that it wasn't THAT cold.
They were troopers. We made it up to the warming tent and nobody was whining about being cold, amazingly, except of course for Maeve. But I will say that Maeve's BOOT SOCKS meant that she did not say anything about cold feet!
That would be ice in the river. It's not warm. In fact, at one point, as I was taking the picture below, I realized my face had probably never been this cold before. Ever. I mean, except for less than a year spent in Milwaukee, St. Louis is as far north as I've lived. It stays a little damp, not a lot of wind, it's just not so bad here. But in the center of the Mississippi River in January? Heh.
Of course, we could have been these people:
We saw eagles. Lots of them. Groups of 4 or 5 just sitting in trees. Juveniles and adults swooping down with the gulls at the rapids. Yesterday's count was over 50; I'm sure it was that high today as well. But no good shots with the camera, alas.
Last year in Clarksville was more productive that way. Last year in Clarksville, it really was around 40 degrees. Last year in Clarksville, we stood in pavilions on the river's edge and didn't have to stand on the old Route 66 bridge with the bend in the middle worried that the wind was going to carry off our toddlers. Last year in Clarksville, we took a whole day and got home near dark.
Makes me think about Passover: Next year, in Clarksville!