It’s a River Walkn’ Bluff Climbing Otter Sliding Sort of Day


Nikki & I share a love of frozen rivers. Every winter we look forward to snowshoeing at least one river together. Last year at almost this exact time we snowshoed the Cascade River. That was a bit of a scary experience that I didn’t want to repeat although we had plenty of fun.

This year I wasn’t trusting rivers. Almost all of them still had open water. I’ve been on the Onion plenty of times and it has always been frozen solid. You couldn’t fall through if you tried. It’s also very shallow except for the big swimming hole. So that’s what we decided on.

Our favorite summer swimming hole
Entering the canyon
The icicles in this spot are magnificent


Our hike was going well and we didn’t come across any problem spots until we got into the slot canyon. We heard voices and lots of laughter. Nikki slid around the corner managing not to break a thin ice bridge and clambered up the little frozen waterfall. “Oh, hey there!”


A group of locals were skiing down the river from the SHT and were stopped by the open water. The whole situation was pretty hilarious and everyone was having a blast. It was pure silliness watching how each person decided to cross. One built a little snow bridge that immediately disintegrated and another put sandwich bags over her ski boots. They all made it across and down past us. Then I heard a commotion. They broke our little ice bridge on the way down. “Now the rest of us are trapped!” we joked.


My method of crossing was simple. I just slid right in and walked across in my snowshoes. Nikki decided to do the same.

Yay for shallow water!
That’s one narrow little sketchy pathway..


We got to the last waterfall and point where I usually turn around.It’s usually a steep and icy barrier. This year there was a gentle slope up the side of the waterfall so we continued on.

Standing on top of the last waterfall


It was so beautiful out! Just around freezing and you could feel the warmth from the sun.


Happy snowshoers


I’ve never seen the Onion this open before in the dead of winter. Not a good ice year.


Back down that falls with no little ice bridge to step on anymore
A view of Lake Superior from a frozen waterfall

The way down was SO much easier & WAY more fun than the climb up. The way up was a bit strenuous. The way down was simply “otter sliding”.

Ottersliding down a canyon wall to the river

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