[transition n. a passage from one state or condition to another; a shift, conversion, evolution; abrupt change in energy state or level, a phase change; dynamic changes in weather conditions, temperatures, ΔΤ’s, atmospheric conditions, moisture levels, seasonal patterns and variances, yada, yada.]
I had hoped to be snowshoeing by now. I’m disappointed and bored. It’s the middle of winter in Minnesota, and my free time is limited, given post surgery physical therapy at the hospital and stops at my gym for some additional workouts. They have placed some exercise limitations on me which is understandable, yet frustrating! Thanks to all for your well wishes -things are going well! I’m just a bit impatient! 😉
In normal situations like this, I might try to get out early in the morning and walk around some of the local lakes near my home, often around sunrise, before the crowds are out. The weather conditions don’t matter, unless they are particularly interesting for some reason. I find foggy conditions to be interesting, but the weather always varies. Sometimes it’s hot and humid, other times cold. It may be rainy or cloudy, foggy, or blizzard conditions. It may be calm or very windy, you get the idea. The random uncertainties of nature (the transitions) are always interesting!
It was one of those days –Sunday, January 29th, 2017. It was also Winter Field Day for amateur radio operators – more about that later. I had to get out and do something. It was a sunny morning, about 25 degrees with a 10-15 mph wind; a brisk, chilly morning. Perhaps I’d have rather been out hiking a trail, or maybe just snowshoeing for a few hours in a regional park. But alas, we have very little snow right now. The walkways around the city lakes are pretty clear, and not icy. A good two,three or four-hour urban hike seemed to be just what the doctor ordered -literally! And, if I got cold I could always find a warm coffee shop somewhere -after all, I was in the middle of a large city. It was about 11 a.m.
I grabbed my camera, a small pack with water and some gear, and headed out to visit some of my usual haunts around a few city lakes. Judy planned to meet me for the last hour or so over by Cedar Lake. When the hike was over, we returned home, and I went back and revisited some similar pictures from September and late November of 2016, just to view the seasonal contrasts. Can’t be much of a contrast, I thought -given the current lack of snow. However, the photos quickly reminded me why we’ve stayed in Minnesota all these years. We’ve lived elsewhere, but this is home! The seasonal changes tend to keep life interesting, and we both enjoy getting outdoors on a regular basis -experiencing the transitions! Hell, we were a half-hour from the Minnesota River Valley, the Mississippi River and several regional parks, and only three hours from the SHT (the Superior Hiking Trail) -but I digress.
In this post we’ll first look at the January 29th photos for each area I visited, then revisit the November and September photos of the same areas just to compare and contrast the immediate seasonal differences — ‘a study of transitions.’ Enjoy!
My first destination was Lake Harriet in southwest Minneapolis. Lake Harriet is about a mile from home, maybe less. It’s about a 3 mi. hike around the lake, and a road around the lake is used for several 5K running events each year.
I’ve fished off this dock for decades, and my grand kids have done so for a few years now. After they see this picture, they’ll probably want to go fishing again sometime soon! This dock is about a twenty minute walk from our place, or a five minute drive. I’ve used a canoe in Lake Harriet more times than can remember! I sold the canoe to the three grandsons for $1 each a few years back; if I want to use it now, I’ve got to go borrow it. I’ve actually done more river fishing with my fly-rod over the past decade or two anyway. It should be noted that no motorized boats (only small electric fishing motors) are allowed on any of the city lakes in Minneapolis. Thus, no noisy jet-skis, no water skiing behind big speed boats -only peace and quiet around the lakes, and the relatively slow-moving sail boats. A nice feature indeed!
Not far from Lake Harriet is Lake Calhoun. It is a larger lake about half a mile north of Lake Harriet. It is arguably the most heavily used lake in the southwest Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, year ’round. Several wind surfers were out on the ice as I passed Calhoun and hiked over to Lake of the Isle, which is just north of Lake Calhoun.
Lake of the Isles is less than two miles from our house. A channel connects Lake Calhoun with Lake of the Isles. I caught a Musky in Lake of the Isles about a decade ago, and a few big bass as well, and there are always plenty of pan fish. Lake of the Isles is a shallow lake with many bays, a couple of islands, and lots of beautiful shoreline. Lots of nice walkways, neighborhoods, and exceptional scenery year ’round.
Lots of folks out skating, walking and skiing on and around the lakes. Some were playing hockey, and a few were using snowshoes. A good day to be out and about!
Cedar Lake is several miles from home, however there is a channel connecting it with Lake of the Isles which also connects with Lake Calhoun, which brings us back very close to Lake Harriet and home.
The northeastern shore of Cedar Lake is not very developed to this day. I used to fish the city lakes as a kid. As recently as a couple of decades ago, I’d take my canoe through the lakes and channels from Lake Calhoun through Lake of the Isles, and into Cedar Lake where I’d fish the area shown below — excellent Crappies and Bass! A truly great way to relax right in the middle of the city!
I don’t fish the city lakes much any more, maybe a couple of times a year with the grandsons. I fish some northern Minnesota lakes and a few rivers along the North Shore of Lake Superior every year -usually while camping along the North Shore or visiting State Parks up that way. I look forward to hauling my Yaesu FT-817ND up along the SHT (Superior Hiking Trail) and into some State Parks within the next few months. I’m building a couple of hf antennas and plan to upgrade my license within the next few months as well. Life is good!
For you Ham radio aficionados, you should know that this was Winter Field Day -a 24 hour period on Jan. 28th-29th (this year), where amateur radio operators set up their equipment all across America to practice emergency communications, often using batteries and solar panels to power their equipment. One of my radio clubs cancelled their Winter Field Day activities a couple of weeks earlier. I brought along a portable hand-held radio and decided to try it out in this cold, outdoor location. It seemed like a good out-of-the-way place, and I was able to get my antenna a bit higher than usual by using the Life Guard stand, thereby making connections more likely!
I was checking several local repeaters (owned and operated by two radio clubs where I’m a member – a case where two is better than one!) on 2m and 70cm for a short period of time and made several connections in town and out of town! Being Winter Field Day, there were a number of connections to be made, although most Field Day activity was actually on the hf spectrum rather than the VHF/UHF frequencies I was limited to with my ht (handheld transceiver for you non-Hams). It was more than a bit chilly sitting out in the open like that -needless to say, I didn’t hang around there too long. I did manage to connect with Tom KDØDFG, the new President of the Richfield Amateur Radio Club, who we elected only two weeks earlier. He was operating mobile and was about 30 mi. south of my location. He just happened to be monitoring the club repeater and we found each other. A great way to end this hike -on the air this Winter Field Day!
All in all, it had been a great few hours in the outdoors, but I was glad to get back to the warmth of the house, especially after sitting on the Life Guard stand, often with no gloves! Brrrrrrr! But I did make some connections on Winter Field Day, 2017! Some are better than none, and I’ll take that! Cheers! …and
73 de Mike, KEØGZT