This morning, winter was showing off. Crystalline magic 😍 ❄️ ❄️ ❄️
For the first time since 2011, I was able to go to Camp Widjiwagan this year as a chaperone for the week-long seventh grade trip. It was glorious to be back up north in the heart of winter.
The overall experience was similar to my first trip (as described in this post). I still enjoy cross-country skiing, but haven’t improved much in nine years; I still have a hard time managing downhill slopes where I pick up too much speed, panic, and crash. The sauna-dip experience involved much less trepidation, since I remembered it fondly from the first trip. It was just as good this time. For bedtime readings, I warmed my cabin up on Monday evening with one of my favorite creepy stories, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Cats of Ulthar. The next night, the students requested more, so we dove into The Call of Cthulhu for the remaining nights, wrapping up on Thursday with a few brave students managing to stay awake for the ending.
A personal highlight, as mentioned in my previous post, was our Wednesday DFRPG game with Sam doing a masterful job in the GM’s chair. It was the closest my beloved character, Zafir Abrashi, has come to dying, being nearly digested by a giant carnivorous plant!
I didn’t take many pictures, but the selection below provides a sense of things. (All of the following are my photos except for the chaperone group which was taken by Molly McMahon.)
Update: My colleague, Cheryl Wilgren, shared some additional shots from the trip:
Gaming before lunch? Check. Gaming again after lunch? Check. Roaring fire? Check. Surrounded by wintery wilderness? Check. Still managed to get 17K+ steps and more than two hours of active minutes? Check! Can a day get better than this?
While looking out the window at the fog and drizzle pooling on last week’s snow, Griffin confided:
Rainy days don’t make me feel gloomy;
they make me feel snug.
I braved the vortex this morning to walk to a local supermarket (less than two miles round trip). In the end, to my surprise, I overdid the layers. I was hot and sweaty when I got home. The only real challenge was my face. I brought goggles, but the wind wasn’t blowing hard enough to justify them. In the end, I just pulled up my neck warmers and that was fine. Moisture control is a pain, though, with every breath creating crackling ice.
Definitely the coldest I’ve ever seen in the Twin Cities. Raw temp is -30°F; wind chill is -52.
I saw this explanation of the “Polar Vortex” on the MPR News Updraft blog yesterday:
Apparently our winter has tired of my mockery. Thus far it has been a toothless sham — moderate temperatures with little snow. As often as not, I’ve walked to work in my summer shoes.
All of that is changing this week. The kids’ school (along with all nearby public school districts) closed yesterday due to snow and will remain closed through Wednesday. My school, generally loathe to close, is closed today and tomorrow. Thursday is unknown at this point.
This is all due to the latest polar vortex that’s bringing a mass of arctic air down from Canada. Raw air temps aren’t all that crazy (we see a few days pushing -20 most years), but the winds will be increasing dramatically, creating some insane wind chill values. As someone who walks to work, I can attest to the fact that the wind is the most important factor that I consider when planning my layers. When temps are below zero, even a moderate wind in your face is basically a show-stopper without face and eye protection.
When we got up this morning, it wasn’t so bad. Cold, but safe enough if you’re properly dressed.
I’ll post updates later to see what actually happens out there.
We’re sure getting tired of winter around here. Turns out the April 4 snowfall was nothing compared to what we received this weekend. The official Twin Cities total was 15.8 inches, the 12th largest snowstorm in Twin Cities history, and the largest on record for April.
Despite plenty of snow fatigue, I was struck once again on my walk to school this morning by how beautiful fresh fallen snow is. Everything was glittering and magical in the sunrise.