Rice Marsh Lake Loop (Edin Prairie, MN) 10-Mar-2023

Since we returned from Texas a week ago, we’ve had one sunny day (the day we got our taxes done πŸ˜₯) but mostly days of gloom and snow and (wait for it) more snow. ❄ And more snow is coming this weekend! ❄❄ All this frozen sky water is giving our local weather forecasters split personalities.

The Rant

On one hand, the forecasters are practically giddy with the possibility that this will be one of the Top 10 snowiest winters in the Twin Cities Metro (since 1938)! We’re at almost at 80 inches (203 cm) and the record is 98.6 inches (250 cm). Let’s break that snowfall record! Yeah! Or not. 🀨

On the other, they have to empathize with the rest of us being tired, real tired, of shoveling snow – so enough is enough! Let Duluth take the record! With 103 inches (261 cm) already on the ground, they deserve it. If it doesn’t stop snowing in the Metro soon, we’ll likely be wearing snowshoes to the state fair in August! πŸ˜’

Aside from generous portions of snow, this winter (our first here) hasn’t been as challenging as we were lead to expect by all the “it’s so cold in Minnesota” horror stories we were fed by people who don’t actually live in Minnesota. But all good things must end. So, it would be nice if the weather would stop snowing and start doing some melting. Soon.

It’s also getting harder and harder to find different ways to photograph white snow on dark, bare branches or bare, dark branches holding white snow or dark, bare branches against a snow white sky or a snow white sky bracketed by bare, dark branches. Time to exit the monochrome. We’re ready for an early wildflower… 🌼

The Hike

We managed a few exercise walks around the neighborhood as the snow fell – dodging ice patches, snowplows, and winter-crazed squirrels as we went. But we wanted to do some semblance of a real hike. Which lead us to the (new to us) paved loop around Rice Marsh Lake Park, which is split between Eden Prairie and Chanhassen.

There was one car in the parking lot off Dell Road when we arrived not too early in the morning. The person from that car passed us as we rounded the lake and our car was all alone when we got back. So not even close to a crowded day on the trail.

Leaving the parking lot off Dell Road
A Sumac in winter
Along Rice Marsh Lake
Last year’s seed pods
Through a patch of snow-flecked forest
Soon, soon there will be new oak leaves
An unnamed watercourse

Rice Marsh Lake Park is split almost evenly in half by the boundaries between the cites of Eden Prairie and Chanhassen and the counties of Carver and Hennepin. Eden Prairie had already plowed their half of the trail, while Chanhassen had not (at least not yet). This wasn’t a problem as our most recent snowfall hadn’t been too big and the fresh snow took the slickness out of the icy patches. πŸ™‚

On the unplowed part of the trail
Tartarian Dogwood
A tall canopy of snow-laden trees
Snow hanging on leaves
Riley Creek enters Rice Marsh Lake

Riley Creek is one of those small streamlets that weaves across the landscape west of Eden Prairie. It rises in Lakes Lucy and Ann, then passes through Lakes Susan, Rice Marsh, Riley, and Grass before emptying into the Minnesota River. We first encountered it (mostly frozen) on a walk in the Riley Creek Conservation Area earlier this winter.

Reflections in Riley Creek
Going back along the south side of the lake
A sculpture in dead leaves and snow
Oak leaf
Back on the plowed (Eden Prairie) part of the trail
Reflections where Riley Creek exits Rice Marsh Lake

It’s long been a running bit of irony (or a source of torment) that any hike we do under mostly overcast and gloomy skies will almost assuredly come into blue skies and sunshine just as we return to the trailhead. Not always, but too often. Just one of Nature’s little jokes… πŸ˜– And so, today, we got a few spots of clearing – and a ray of sunshine 😎 – just before the car came into view.

Just for a moment…
A ray of sunshine brings forth the brave hiker smile
And then Nature was done with the blue sky thing…

This loop is an essentially level 3.2 miles (5.1 km), all on a paved surface – a pleasant, easy walk through a nice piece of Nature out in the western suburbs. That teasing patch of blue sky disappeared almost before we left the parking lot. Then the sky got back to the gloomy business of preparing to make more snow. ❄❄❄ Hopefully, if the current forecast holds, we’ll see warmer temperatures and the sun again next Tuesday… 😎😁

Our loop around Rice Marsh Lake

5 thoughts on “Rice Marsh Lake Loop (Edin Prairie, MN) 10-Mar-2023

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  1. Thanks for stopping by and the kind words! We were at the MN History Center the other day and the subject of weather came up (how could it not at this time of year πŸ™„). According to the person there, winters in MN have gotten a little warmer and mellower in recent decades. Which is not to say that a burst (Polar Vortex) of really cold weather won’t happen but it will no longer be brutally cold for weeks and weeks. So, good for us, sad for ice fishing. πŸ˜•πŸŸ

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This weather is Snow joke! LoL. It has been a very snowy winter, but nowhere near as cold as past winters. I remember many past winter mornings, praying the vehicles would start to go to work in 40 to 60 below temperatures. This winter was much warmer, but the umpteen feet of snow takes away from the slight warm-up. I really enjoy your blog hikes and photos, thanks for sharing them.


  3. You managed to find a bit of color on this hike. That orange bark was striking.

    Around here we have more rain here than we have had in probably a decade or more. Except for January when there was lots of storm damage, the rain had been gentle enough to avoid much flooding, but it comes about every week so nothing really dries out. The forest is still totally closed though.


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