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It snowed again yesterday. Not too much fall, but enough to whiten and smooth what was graying and patching.

That was the morning. By midday the sun had broken through and the temperature rose well above freezing point. Enough to encourage me to venture out into St. Charles County to see the state of the Great Rivers.

I crossed the ice-covered Missouri River and took a back road that leads to a hidden riverside landing to see if I could get closer. Unfortunately, to get to this access point requires driving down a steep levee slope and when arrived there I saw it was covered with ice and snow. I did not fancy being stranded at the bottom of the rise, so I skipped this and headed northwards towards Portage Des Sioux and the Mississippi River.

The sun was low in the sky as I drove up to the parking lot next the walkway that leads to the statue of Our Lady Of The Rivers and was threatening to hide itself behind a thick bank of cloud close to the horizon.

Not much time then for photography. I gathered up my cameras and tripod and walked out to the statue.The Mississippi was almost completely covered with ice, but a small pool had formed in the center of the river. Around this were gathered a number of blue herons looking for fish. They flew away before I could photograph them, alas.I was quite alone here – any eagle watchers must have been congregated elsewhere. When I walked back from the statue, I encountered a couple walking their dogs. Inevitably, I was asked if I'd seen any eagles! To my mind, herons are just as impressive and much more beautiful. I followed them flying away from the pool to the east. The sun was so low now that my shadow and that of the statue extended far out over the ice. In the far distance, smoke drifted from the Ameren Sioux Power Plant.

The trail of smoke from the single chimney put me in mind of a steam train. A mental image reinforced by the shot below taken on my way to Portage Des Sioux.There was a train parked on the tracks some way from me. Diesel, though. Ah well.

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