exploring our amazing natural spaces

Outdoor Minnesota Winter

Inch an hour

It has been over a month since our last big snowfall. Today we’re in for the inch-an-hour variety fun to watch from inside with a warm cup of cocoa as 1/2 foot blankets the outside.

snowing in Lake Elmo 2-2-2016

Just bluffing

Probably since humans could think to draw or write there’s been “graffiti” carved into the sandstone bluffs above the St Croix. Eventually these designs like those that came before will be washed away by water and time to leave a clean palette for the next generation looking to leave their mark.

sandstone art exhibitSt Croix bluff

Open water swim

About a dozen waterfowl including a swan pair took advantage of a sunny 30 degree day to swim in open water on the St Croix river just north of Stillwater.

swan song

Winter hues

Wind blows our brief snow around the lake exposing open patches of colored ice. The green and blue hues are hard to see depending on the light but worth the effort to view nature’s true colors.

fractured iceSorels on the lake

Snow waves

There’s not much snow this year and the light fluff that fell this week has blown across the lake forming beautiful snow waves. I was able to ski the entire lake today on these striations of powder making sure to dodge all the abandoned ice fishing holes. wind blown snow


Year round construction

A walk on the frozen St Croix this morning shows construction of the new bridge near Stillwater is in full swing. Views up and down the valley from the top of these bridge footings must be amazing although I’m happy to see the sights from this lower ground level perspective!

bridge over St Croix River 2015

Crashed ice

St Paul’s Cathedral is hosting a downhill SKATE race called Crashed Ice. Not for the faint of heart this winding course drops racers from the top of Summit Hill to the bottom in less than a minute.

St Paul Cathedral Crashed Icequick skate

Trudging through the snow

It was a brown Christmas this year with many days above freezing in December. Friday’s snowfall was a day late but a welcome sight for those of us who enjoy frolicking in the winter white.

MPLS am snow


Still arriving

The shipping season is not yet over on Lake Superior with ships passing under Duluth’s aerial lift bridge from Canada, Italy and Antigua over the next week. When the big lake is this calm it’s good to be a duck and makes one ponder the life of a mariner.

Lake Superior Duluth MNAerial lift bridge

Moving up the lake

Cold nights have produced surface ice now developing on the deepest portions of Lake Elmo. Yet forecasts from my favorite weatherman tell of an El Nino firing up in the Pacific that will create a warmer than average December here in the Northland. Stay tuned.

lake freeze