Fall colors are peaking in some areas of Minnesota and today promised unusually warm temperatures with blue skies — a perfect combination for an early morning canoe trip on the St. Croix River. As we put the canoe into the water south of Taylors Falls, dawn was just breaking, the morning was crisp and quiet, and the water was calm. We paddled south and had the river to ourselves. Slowly the sun crested the bluffs on the Wisconsin side of the river, and the light was golden on the Minnesota hillsides. Our trip was filled with wonder at the basalt cliffs that fall straight into the river, and at the beauty of this gorge. A short stop for coffee and some pear bread on a sand bar was accompanied by an eagle flying overhead. The morning was magical in its stillness and color, and this National Scenic Riverway renewed our appreciation for the beauty of fall and the area we live in.