Kadunce River

 In North Shore, Picture, Rivers, Winter

Kudunce River in Minnesota

The Kadunce River on the northshore of Minnesota is one of those rivers that you never know exactly what you’ll get. Sometimes, it’s a raging whitewater river (Opens in a new window), sometimes it’s calm and easy to hike up (Opens in a new window), in winter, sometimes it’s ice and sometimes it’s snow covered (Opens in a new window). We hiked up the Kadunce on Daylight Liberation Day and found it to be mostly snow covered, except for the fall in the grotto, which had frozen to the rock and water had come over the top making it a rather difficult hike up (all ice and no snow). Luckily, I packed crampons and an ice axe (A little 40cm alpine tool I bought years ago and hardly ever use — but it’s light!), which we used to head up. We made it up the river as far as the telephone lines, but then were turned back by a half-collapsed 30-foot ice fall and rumbling bellies. Plus, we wanted to ski the Devil Track River and were running out of time. You know the sun sets early — 7pm!!!!

Ilena ice climbing up a small fall on the Kudunce River in Minnesota

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Showing 13 comments
  • Andy

    Oooo! One of my favorite-est places on Earth! It’s definitely a grab-bag of experiences in the warmer months; I’ve come across deer carcasses and tempted the fates there more than once. But I’ve never been there in winter. Sure am motivated to take a hike up it now, though. Thanks for the fantastic pictures, it’s a very hard river to photograph well!

    Andy’s last blog post..UpNorthica Flickr Pool: Vintage Wildlife Illustrations

  • Ilena

    I look so tuff! Thanks for taking a great photo!

  • Joel Truckenbrod

    Probably one of my favorite rivers along the Minnesota/Superior Shore (the Devil Track is wonderful as well). Photographically, it’s an amazing place, and well worth spending some time pursuing. Nice light in the first image…it sure looks different than when I was there in August!

  • Becky

    go ilena!

    nice pic bro!

  • Bryan

    Hey! Thanks everyone. I’m been using the Canon G9 the last few weekends and my real camera was sorely missed in the Kadunce. The lighting was fantastic that day and the G9 just didn’t do the scene justice. Certainly, a moment where Camera Does Mater! (Opens in new window)

  • Ilena

    Thanks Becky! It really wasn’t that high but it was fun for my first time!

  • Rebecca Schuder

    We just spent 3 days hiking at various river trails on the
    shore including the Kadunce. I was wondering about the
    origin of the name. We noticed it was spelled Kodonce on a map….

    • Bryan

      I’m not sure of the origin. Over the years, it has been named the Diarrhoea River, Greenwood River and the Kodonce River. Since 1941, its official name has been the Kadunce River. I guess the name was someone’s last name.

      • Chuck kadunce

        It was named after a distant relative of mine who married a Sioux Indian woman and whom had a son. It is as mine for correct spelling
        Chuck Kadunce.

    • Lesley Kadunce

      Hello, My name is Lesley Kadunce. I live in Butler, Pennsylvania and have heard about the river with my family’s name for a long time now. Just finally decided to do some looking online about it. Regarding the name, back in Istria,Croatia before immigrating to the USA, the name was Kadunz. That was how my great-grandfather’s last name was spelled, Kadunz. The American translation is Kadunce, which is why I believe it took on that spelling. From what was told to me by my grandfather, most of the family settled in PA, but one of my great great uncles kept on west, apparantly settling in MN. One of my cousins was in the military and for whatever reason was in Minnesota some years back and he is the person who actually told us that there was a Kadunce River and State Park. He said no one in MN believed that was his lasy name! I wish I had more information about my relative for whom the river is named. If I ever discover the answer I will be sure to pass it along! My grandfather always said “I don’t care where you go in this world, if you meet a Kadunce, we are related!” It’s definitely not a common name, for sure. Well, it is nice to see such a beautiful place with my family name. Your pictures are beautiful. I hope someday to see the Kadunce River in person! Thanks for listening! – Lesley Kadunce

  • Charles J. Lippert

    Kadunce River goes by a variation Kodonce River, and two alternative names Diarrhoea River and Greenwood River.

    If I assume “kadunce” is reflecting an Ojibwe word, looking at the possible words for “diarrhoea” and “greenwood” in Ojibwe, my best guess is that “diarrhoea” is the better choice, as “aakoshkadens” (which refers to any mild gastral-intestinal discomfort and not necessarily a full-fledged diarrhoea) can easily be corrupted by dropping the first half of the word to yield “…kadens”, where with the various words for “greenwood”, you don’t end up with this result. If my guess is correct, then the full name in Ojibwe for this river would be “Aakoshkadens-ziibi” and should be translated to something like “Bellyache River”.

  • Bryan Hansel

    Here’s what the book Minnesota Place Names by Warren Upham in 1920 says:

    Diarrhoea river, which receives the outflow of Trout Lake, has this name on Norwood’s map in the Owen survey, 1851, referring to illness thought due to drinking its water; and it is so named by Jewett’s map, 1911. The maps of the Minnesota Geological Survey call it Greenwood river.

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