Last Thursday, March 5th was the last frigid day of this winter (or at least we are all hoping so now that we have officially hit 60 degrees in the Twin Cities) and that evening I found myself craving a little bit of adventure. I had seen pictures from urban explorer types from behind the massive ice sheet that is Minnehaha Falls in the wintertime, and I wanted to experience the ice and cold for myself.
Hiking up past the “KEEP OUT!” sign is obviously illegal and discouraged by the city, but with no officials present to enforce this rule (thankfully) the adventurous spirits are free to meander and hike their way up to the frozen falls, climbing up a steep muddy trail in order to gain access. It took about 10 minutes for me to make my way up because I was holding on to all my camera equipment and moving slow to avoid sliding down on my face. Once I made it, however, it was really a unique experience. Behind the thick sheet of ice that would otherwise be a moving waterfall was very beautiful. The ice columns glowed blue and the frozen sheet of water particles suspended in the air was one of those picturesque moments that mother nature gives us in the winter to make up for the bitter temperatures.
I went at around sunset to try to see if the timing would make a difference in what sort of pictures I could get from the falls, but in all reality it didn’t make too much of a difference as the sunset is not within plain view of the falls. If you decide to go next winter, make sure it has been cold for several days so that everything is really solidified, take caution when walking out onto the creek, don’t get too close to moving, unfrozen portions and be aware that it can get sloppy behind the falls with spots that are slush and not frozen solid.
I would definitely recommend hiking up to the falls next winter for anyone looking for some fun afternoon adventure. In the winter in Minnesota, it is very easy to become trapped inside, avoiding any sort of adventure or activity that involve leaving the comfort of a warm home. This is why we all get so depressed for several months, only to be awoken once the snow starts to melt and Spring appears. Going out and doing fun activities (especially ones that are free!) is the best way to try to combat some of this seasonal depression, because keeping up the fire of adventure within oneself is the best way to stay warm even through the coldest and gloomiest of times.
Never stop exploring! Every day is a new adventure.