Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A spectacular February weekend in southern Minnesota in photos February 20, 2017

TO ALL THE SNOWBIRDS who’ve headed to Texas or Florida or Arizona for the winter. To all the people out there who consider Minnesota nothing more than a place of snow and cold. To any Minnesotan who complains about winter (and I have and I do), I present this weekend photo essay from balmy southern Minnesota:

Saturday afternoon in downtown Jordan was shirt-sleeve warm for this teen on his cellphone.

Saturday afternoon in downtown Jordan was shirt-sleeve warm for this teen on his cellphone.

Families were out and about everywhere, including this little girl with her baby doll in downtown Jordan.

Families were out and about everywhere, including this sandal-clad girl with her baby doll in downtown Jordan.

Snow clings to the edges of Sand Creek rushing through the heart of Jordan.

Sand Creek rushes through the heart of Jordan with only remnants of snow remaining.

Bikers were out all over, some powered by their two feet and...

Bikers were out all over, some powered by their two feet and…

others powered by fuel, like these bikes parked in downtown Jordan.

others powered by fuel, like these bikes parked in downtown Jordan.

Minnesotans fished, here Sunday afternoon from the banks of the Cannon River by the woolen mill dam in Faribault. Snow pushed from the parking lot edged the river bank.

Minnesotans fished, here Sunday afternoon from the banks of the Cannon River by the woolen mill dam in Faribault. Snow pushed from the parking lot edged the river bank.

Meanwhile, on Union Lake in northern Rice County, ice fisherman by the dozens fished Sat

Meanwhile, on Union Lake in northern Rice County, ice fisherman by the dozens fished Saturday afternoon despite water puddling atop ice near the shoreline. Vehicles lined the road in Albers Park next to the lake.

Saturday proved a perfect warm and sunny day for sitting on an overturned bucket on the frozen lake to fish.

Saturday proved a perfect warm and sunny day for sitting on an overturned bucket or lawn chair on the frozen lake to fish.

Just south of Union Lake Trail along Rice County Road 46, a bald eagle watched me...

Just south of Union Lake Trail along Rice County Road 46, a bald eagle watched me…

watching it.

watching it.

At Faribault Energy Park Sunday afternoon, geese dealt with frozen and partially open pond water.

At Faribault Energy Park Sunday afternoon, geese dealt with frozen and partially open pond water.

Runners ran along city streets and sidewalks and along rural roads in ideal weather conditions, here along Rice County Road 46.

Runners ran along city streets and sidewalks and along rural roads in ideal weather conditions, here along Rice County Road 46.

At Oak Ridge Cemetery in Faribault, moss greened the ground.

At Oak Ridge Cemetery in Faribault, moss greened the ground.

At Faribault Energy Park, the windmill was set against a beautiful sunny blue dky.

At Faribault Energy Park, the windmill was set against a beautiful sunny blue sky on a day that felt more like spring than winter.

Remind me of this glorious, stunning, unbelievably warm weekend of near 60-degree temps after the next snowfall and the next plunge to sub-zero temps. I want to remember this stretch of February days and how our collective Minnesota spirit soared.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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29 Responses to “A spectacular February weekend in southern Minnesota in photos”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    All my Iowa friends were rejoicing! They did have to cancel the Color the Wind kite festival in Clear Lake because of too thin ice which was sad but better safe than sorry. At least you still had ice fishing in MN. Enjoy that weekend. We sat out on the deck yesterday so it was a day like yours here in NC.

  2. Jean Schmidtke Says:

    Sorry but it was much nicer in South Padre. Didn’t need a jacket to walk. 80’s. Beautiful laying on the beach. Can’t do that in MInn.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    It was wonderful, wasn’t it?

  4. Enjoyed your photos! I haven’t been to Minnesota very much so Fun to see! We grilled burgers yesterday. Instead of lake effect snow it was all “lake effect” sun1

  5. Yes, it was a beautiful weekend. I did, however, shudder to see photos of people out on that melting ice to fish! Yikes! Not this girl.

    • I was surprised to see so many angles on Union Lake. I’m with you; I wouldn’t walk onto the lake. That said, a friend claims the ice on Cedar Lake in rural Faribault is still 15 inches thick. I would have to question the integrity of that ice, though, given the warm weather. I wouldn’t take the chance.

  6. Jackie Says:

    Even I, a winter lover so enjoyed the mild weekend. We had the littles over on Sunday and played outside (Audrey in shorts), with no coat. We enjoyed a few walks, and grilled out on the deck for dinner last night. I do hope we get some more snow, I don’t wish to be robbed of winter when it is still that season, but the respite was welcome.

  7. Don Says:

    I am envious of your weekend weather wish we had it here! 15 inches of ice on the lake is plenty thick for safety. We have a chart showing how much weight for a given thickness of ice it can hold. I referred to this many times when flying ski-planes, however, I also looked at the overall color of the ice from the air to determine the quality of it. If it had a deep greyish look to it, it was rotten ice e.g. water logged and crystalized and not safe.

    Looks like everyone was enjoying the weather while it lasted knowing that spring and breakup is still a ways off !!!!!!

    • Snow in the forecast for Friday.

      You’re right about the 15 inch thickness of the ice making it safe. However, it’s the quality, as you point out, that matters. With the recent save of nearly 60-degree days, the ice may not be as strong as its thickness indicates.

  8. It is soooo nice when winter gives us a break from well.. Winter!!

  9. Valerie Says:

    Once again we write about the same thing! The weather is glorious. We did get out for a bike ride today…the pedal kind (before the rain.)

  10. It was a beautiful weekend for the Midwest in February. I’m afraid this weekend won’t be looking the same. That tease of spring will have most of us complaining of winter.

  11. Sue Ready Says:

    yes I did hear of this balmy event. great photos particularly like the eagle ones.


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