The St. Croix flows unfettered between the Interstate 94 bridge at Hudson and the two bridges at Prescott, Wisconsin. In this stretch, the river is broad and hemmed in by hills with little or no floodplain. The are numerous sandy beaches, fine for swimming. Afton is a village on the Minnesota side in the midst of this stretch of river.

And over the village slipped the days, passing into the nights; the weeks flowed by, the months crept on, the wind howled, and, glassified with an autumnal, translucent, greenish-azure, the Don flowed tranquilly down to the sea.

     - Mikhail Sholokhov, And Quiet Flows the Don

The St. Croix doesn't flow to the sea, but its waters do via the Mississippi. The flow is not tranquil. It is interrupted and polluted by dams, bridges, cities and towns, power plants, casinos, industry, big boats and barges. The quotation about the Don in southern Russia speaks of a time when rivers still ran unfettered to the sea.