By Jim Umhoefer
Mention the Kettle River to white-water canoeists and their eyes light up at the thought of the Banning Rapids, a collection of challenging, frothy drops with picturesque names like Blueberry Slide, Mother's Delight, Dragon's Tooth, and Hell's Gate. This river is known for its wild scenery, hundred-foot bluffs, rugged sandstone cliffs and dense woods.
The Kettle River has a wilderness character only 100 miles of the Twin Cities. Deer are commonly spotted from the river, although black bear, bobcat and other forest mammals share the tree cover. Beaver, muskrat and otter are occasionally sighted along the Kettle's course. Several species of duck and some Canada geese nest near the river. Read more: