Once again, a trip for personal business claimed some of our time. Personal because it was for our needs and not those of some corporate overlord. Business because it wasn’t all about having fun or wallowing in new experiences. It’s why we found ourselves in Minneapolis, Minnesota (and environs) in February. Not exactly swimsuit and cocktails around the pool weather. But we’d brought along some winter hiking gear, so it wasn’t TOO much of a shock. Our gear did not, however, include the fleece-lined Crocs we saw for sale at the local REI.

It was brilliantly sunny on our first full day in town. That would have been the day for something outside but duty called instead. We carved out some time the morning of the second day for a short hike, only to be greeted with overcast skies. Well, you hike what you’re given. It was, of course, sunny again the day we left. 😒

Although there are a huge number of outdoor spaces in and around Minneapolis, we went to the Hyland Lake Park Reserve simply because it was closest to where we were. It was a brisk 16 ℉ / -8.8 ℃ when we stepped out of the car. Cold for us, just cool for the locals. The morning we headed home it was -3 ℉ (-19.4 ℃) – what the local weather people deemed to be cold. We’re not sure where “very cold” starts around here but that’s probably at a point of coldness too low even for fleece-lined Crocs. 🙄

From the Richardson Nature Center, we followed the Oak Trail south to Goose Nest Pond, then circled back via the Aspen Trail past Muskrat Pond. About an hour outside. Then we went inside the nature center to see the displays, watch the red squirrels frolic around the outdoor feeders, and use the warm restroom.

The scenery here in mid-winter is various shades of gray, white, black, and brown. Structure predominates over color. The view out over Goose Nest Pond was gray over white with black shadows for trees. However, the nature center had large photos of what the pond looks like in summer – amazingly colorful, warm, and inviting! Too bad we weren’t here during the warmer months (like in 2017 when we spent a week at the North Shore). We’re thinking that a full 4-season climate (which Southern Oregon just misses) only heightens one’s appreciation for those seasons when fleecy Crocs aren’t required. 😁😉

The brave hiker smile returns to the Midwest
Out the Oak Trail
Structure, not color
On Goose Nest Pond
Back on the Oak Trail
A little color in winter
Up the Aspen Trail
View from the Osprey viewing area
Goose Nest Lake from the viewing platform

When our business took us into downtown Minneapolis, we added a brief detour to see Saint Anthony Falls, the only natural major waterfall on the Mississippi River. They aren’t exactly natural anymore but are still an impressive sight. The visitor center was closed until summer, so we viewed the falls from the Stone Arch Bridge downstream, standing out in a brisk, character building breeze stoically experiencing windchill. 🥶 It was a sunny day but we did not overheat.

Saint Anthony Falls under the Central Street Bridge, with a lock on the left
Close-up of the now concrete armored falls

And thus ended our brief visit to Minneapolis. Maybe we’ll get a chance to come back and do some more hiking here when its clear, sunny, colorful, and WARM. 😃

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