Above the Falls Sports: Minneapolis, MN
During our inaugural week in Minneapolis, Casey and I decided to take on the sport of kayaking for the first time. It is something we've always wanted to do, however when living in Colorado your water supply is very limited. We chose Above The Fall Sports for a two-hour kayaking session ($40) located in downtown Minneapolis and within walking distance from our hotel at the Residence Inn Downtown at The Depot.
We could not have been more pleased with the great instructors as they were so friendly and even provided wetsuits for us inexperienced kayakers. In addition they held our belongings, took pictures along the way, and provided us with great hats to protect our scalps from the sun (Casey opted for a vintage 1985 Chicago Bears trucker hat and I opted for the plastic/felt cowboy hat--rather suiting for the both of us).
Here are a just a few reasons to easily convince you to take on a kayaking adventure with Above The Fall Sports (in no particular order):
- Scenery: The scenery in downtown Minneapolis is pretty extraordinary. Reminiscent of Portland, the city displays vintage signs of businesses that once thrived and helped build the city (i.e. Northstar Blankets, Grain Belt Beer, Gold Medal Flour, etc). While you're kayaking you get to enjoy the city skyline, the old Mill Ruins, the brand new Guthrie Theatre, the locks and "falls" of the river and so much more!
- Workout: Kayaking is an incredibly peaceful and tough workout once you get the hang of it. According to Lance Armstrong's Livestrong.com which quotes the American Council on Exercise, "a 125-lb. person burns 283 calories per hour of kayaking while a 150-lb. person burns 340, a 175-lb. person burns 397, and a 200-lb. person burns 454 calories (a higher body weight requires increased energy expenditure)." Needless to say, it's a rewarding workout and we both woke up sore the next day. I have to say I fell in love with kayaking and immediately wished "Colorful Colorado" had more water spaces like Minneapolis to enjoy.
- Price: $40 for a two-hour session, great workout, rentals, wetsuits, pictures, scenery, friendly instructors and fellow participants is well worth the money spent.
- Mississippi River: Being from the St. Louis Metro area, I am used to being escorted by my father and my mother to the "Muddy Mississippi" when venturing "down the River Road" in Grafton, Illinois or when entering St. Louis, however the greatest thing about Minneapolis is that the Mississippi isn't muddy! Take advantage of the river when you're in Minnesota because by the time you get "down" to St. Louis the river is brown, muddy and the current is much stronger. I have to say it was fantastic to see the "Muddy Mississippi" in a new light!
- 50-foot drop: One of the best parts about our kayaking tour is that Minneapolis has one of the highest "falls" as boaters, kayakers, etc. wait for the water to drop in order to pass through on the Mississippi River. To put it blantantly, the Mississippi River's flow is controlled by 43 dams from it's origin in North Central Minnesota (Lake Itasca) to St. Louis, Missouri. During this tour you get to experience the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam in Minneapolis which is the largest drop of all the Mississippi Locks and Dams. The reason for this, is because just next to the "lock" is the only natural waterfall of the Mississippi River. Just imagine you're on a boat or a barge trying to go down a waterfall to continue down the Mississippi River (doesn't work) therefore the lock was built. As a first time kayaker, I heard "50-ft. drop" and got extremely nervous as I pictured myself in a downward spiral, only to land face first with my legs encompassed in a kayak to drown in a less than exciting death only to be covered in the ticker of a local newscast. Later we realized, that the "lock/fall" is more like being a rubber ducky in a bathtub, sitting and waiting for the water to decrease as the plug has been pulled. It was pretty incredible to see and be apart of the river's largest drop and to witness how it has increased commercialism till this day. Not to mention, it was pretty incredible for me to see the Mississippi as a beautiful asset to the city of Minneapolis versus a muddy mockery in St. Louis.
- Because I like to end everything on the number six, Above the Fall Sports offers boat sales (new and used), group tours (short, half-day, full-day, picnic and supper cruise), boat handling instruction and boat rentals!