Out and About

Minnesota Surprised With Snow

For the most part, the Twin Cities hasn’t had snow this 2023–24 winter season. It’s by far a winter unlike any other I’ve experienced in Minnesota. Though I enjoyed the warmer days and better driving conditions, I was pleased to see bright snow outside my window when I got up this morning.

I took these seven photos today from 10:17 to 10:35 a.m. The National Weather Service’s forecast office for the Twin Cities is located next to my neighborhood in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

My house
Three conifers with the N.W.S.’s Doppler radar in the background
Backyard of the N.W.S.
Snow-covered tree
N.W.S. sign
Front yard of the N.W.S.
N.W.S. building
Out and About

The Hudson Hot Air Affair

This weekend is the 35th annual Hudson Hot Air Affair in Hudson, Wisconsin. The hot-air balloon festival was supposed to take place yesterday, Saturday, as well, but they had to cancel it because the conditions weren’t perfect. Apparently, weather conditions that do not seem particularly capricious to the average Joe or Jane could spell disaster for balloonists. With that said, today is my mom’s birthday, so it worked out well for us.

I took these 20 photos from 7:39 to 8:17 a.m.

Mom with binoculars
This was the last balloon, but the crew decided not to go at the last minute
Putting away the balloon from the previous photo
Out and About

50 Photos From the Mall of America

Today, my mom and I visited the Mall of America—the largest mall in the Western Hemisphere—in Bloomington, Minnesota, so I could take photos for my own archival purposes.

I took these photos from 11:24 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.

We parked in the California lot on the second level by Macy’s
Skyway to Macy’s
Mannequins at Macy’s
The entrance to the mall after passing through Macy’s
Nickelodeon Universe (formerly Camp Snoopy)
The LEGO Store
Jerk King
Sugar Factory Express
The LEGO Store II
Mom sitting
Apple Store
Urban Outfitters
Tesla vehicle outside Nordstrom
Caribou Coffee
H&M and Zara
Bath & Body Works
Twin City Grill
Barnes & Noble
Nickelodeon Universe II
Nickelodeon Universe III
Starbucks Coffee
Yankee Candle
Nickelodeon Universe IV
Urban Planet
Nickelodeon Universe V
Nickelodeon Universe VI
Kappa Toys
Apple Store II
Three levels
Legacy Toys
Wink World
Culinary on North
Prince Music Company
Lululemon and Peloton event
Walgreens II
Rainforest Cafe
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Three levels II
Out and About

Winter Lights at the Arboretum

Tonight, I visited the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota, to see their Winter Lights walking tour that goes through the end of the month. I’ve never been to the Arboretum in the winter, much less seen their Winter Lights display (though I’m not sure if they’ve had it in previous years).

I took a bus in Chaska to get there, because the Arboretum was sold out of tickets for parking on-site. A SouthWest Transit employee at the park-and-ride facility in Chaska told me there would be 4,000 attendees tonight—with 3,000 people parking at the Arboretum and 1,000 people taking the bus.

As these photos illustrate, there is no snow on the ground. Furthermore, I recall only two days this fall and winter season when there was any measurable snow on the ground, and they were on October 30 and 31. Needless to say, there won’t be a white Christmas this year. In fact, the two main reasons I went to this event tonight was that it was warm (the high temperature in Chanhassen today was 47 degrees Fahrenheit) and that I wanted to document the brown Christmas, which happens much less frequently than a white Christmas in the Twin Cities. The high temperature for tomorrow (Christmas Eve) is 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

I took these 19 photos from 4:49 to 5:37 p.m.

Arb logo at the Oswald Visitor Center
A reindeer guiding a snowman on a sleigh
Frosted Romance
Steps leading to the carousel
The carousel
House with a star
Pollinator Path
Miscellaneous lights
Miscellaneous lights II
Winter Village
Winter Village II
Multicolored building (probably the Oswald Visitor Center)
Arb logo at the Oswald Visitor Center II
Apple II (not the computer)
Water Lily Way
Apple tree
SouthWest Transit bus
SouthWest Transit bus II
Out and About Pug Life

Indian Summer in Minnesota

Beginning today, we are having an Indian summer in the Twin Cities.

My definition of Indian summer is simple. It is after the first hard frost when it is unseasonably warm and dry. The next four days will be Indian summer as well, with high temperatures of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit on all of these days.

I decided to photograph this year’s Indian summer today, as I don’t believe it happens every year. I took these photos at Lake Ann Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota, from 4:02 to 4:09 p.m.

Mom and Missy
Mom and Missy II
Mom and Missy by Lake Ann
Out and About

Me, a Lake, a Sunset, and My Camera

I visited Lake Ann in Chanhassen, Minnesota, this evening. Chanhassen is now at peak fall colors according to the Fall Color Finder webpage by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

It will be rainy and snowy for the rest of the week (today is Monday), so it’s likely I won’t photograph fall colors again until next year.

I took these photos from 5:58 to 6:16 p.m.; the sunset was at 6:18 p.m.

Dock at Lake Ann (where I took the next four photos)
Lake Ann fishing pier
Sky reflection on Lake Ann
Sky reflection on Lake Ann II
Moon reflection on Lake Ann
Out and About

Panoramic Views at Sibley State Park

My mom and I ventured out with our puggle, Missy, again today to see Sibley State Park two hours away in New London, Minnesota. As the map to the right shows, the state park is at the peak time for fall colors. (Be sure to utilize the Fall Color Finder webpage with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.)

We spent most of our time driving, but it at least didn’t take long to get some spectacular scenic photos.

I took these seven photos from 3:54 to 4:23 p.m.

View from Mount Tom
View from Mount Tom II
Mount Tom observation tower (where I took the previous two photos)
Silhouette of family at Mount Tom
Mount Tom observation tower II
Andrew Lake
Andrew Lake II
Out and About

Visiting Fort Snelling State Park

Today, my mom, my puggle (Missy), and I visited Fort Snelling State Park for the first time (though my mom says she did once visit the cemetery for a funeral). Because Fort Snelling is spread out over such a wide area and is so integral to Minnesota’s history, the photos below actually comprise three cities and three counties. The first location, Big Rivers Regional Trail, isn’t part of Fort Snelling, though the trails do connect to it.

I decided we should visit this state park because it was recommended today by the Fall Color Finder from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, who, in the photo to the right, also show that this area is at the peak time for fall colors.

I took these six photos from 4:13 to 5:21 p.m.

Delta hangar across the Minnesota River, as seen from Big Rivers Regional Trail in Mendota Heights, Minnesota
Delta airplane preparing to land at the runway near the hangar in the previous photo
Down by the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul
Fallen tree near where I took the previous photo at Fort Snelling State Park, with my mom acting as the director of photography
Commemorative marker and/or gravestone for Elizabeth R. Snelling, the daughter of Colonel Josiah Snelling and first white child born in Minnesota. It is located approximately 10 feet behind where I was standing in the next photo at Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel in Minneapolis.
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel, with my mom acting as the director of photography again
Out and About

Correction: The Last Nice Autumn Day at the Arb Is Yet to Come

I regret the premise of my last article from October 11 titled, “The Last Nice Autumn Day at the Arb?” Minnesota’s leaves are keeping their color longer this year, so I now say the best day for fall colors is yet to come. In the picture to the right, one can see that much of the Twin Cities—including where I live in Chanhassen—is still at near-peak.

I encourage everyone to utilize the Fall Color Finder from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. In years past, I’ve visited some of the state parks, which are denoted by circles on the map. I’m not sure if I will visit any state parks this year, but I certainly would be up to it if my mom is interested in another excursion in the woods with frequent stops.

I took these six photos today from 10:33 to 11:22 a.m. at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota.

Grace B. Dayton Wildflower Garden sign at the beginning of the Three-Mile Walk
Colorful trees near the beginning of the Three-Mile Walk
Ginkgo biloba leaves
Acer rubrum, ‘Autumn Spire,’ Red Maple
Maze Garden
Tilia cordata, ‘Glenleven,’ Littleleaf Linden
Out and About

The Last Nice Autumn Day at the Arb?

It’s possible today is the last nice autumn day of the year at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota. I say this because, (1) according to the Fall Color Finder by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, my area is at near-peak (orange):

Minnesota D.N.R.’s Fall Color Finder map for 2023-10-11

and (2) the next three days will be rainy and breezy, which will likely cause many of the leaves to fall.

Here are seven photos I took today between 10:19 and 11:03 a.m.

Sunstar in the forest
Fish sculpture in a pond
Crane sculpture and its reflection in the same pond
Lake with fall colors
Ginkgo biloba, ‘Autumn Gold,’ Maidenhair Tree
Malus, ‘Indian Magic,’ Crabapple
Acer saccharum, Sugar Maple