I try to walk every day at lunchtime. Not only is it good exercise, but I get to walk in a scenic area.
Today, this is what I got to see:
I got to watch a tugboat working barges through the locks at St. Anthony Falls.
St. Anthony Falls are the only natural waterfalls on the Upper Mississippi River, and it’s no wonder that the settlement of Minneapolis grew around this area. The falls provided hydro power for all the flour mills (Pillsbury, General Mills, etc) which is what made this area the flour milling capital of the World for about 50 years.
Anyway, there is a system of locks next to the (now concrete) falls that allow barge traffic and other boats to get up and down the river. I had never really seen them in the midst of operation before, and today it just so happened that they were. So I watched.
Here the tug is getting the barges positioned to the left side. Once fully in, the men tied them in place and the tug pulled in beside them:
A bit of a tight fit!! Then HAL closed the pod bay doors:
Once the doors were closed, then the control booth opened up the ports and fill the lock. It’s all gravity-fed– no pumps needed. And in like 10 to 15 minutes the tug is ready to grab the barges and head on it’s merry way up the river:
I didn’t stand around and watch it fill, but saw the tug leaving when I finished my walking loop. All in all, it was pretty cool to watch the locks in action.