The season’s first snow

My friend Uta has invited me countless times to the cabin she and her husband bought three years ago in northern Minnesota, near Lake Superior. Her persistence finally paid off last weekend when we sandwiched a visit between winter storms and work obligations.

Yes, you read that right: winter storms.

The North Shore is famous for its changeable “lake effect” weather — and for even longer, harsher winters than we endure in the Twin Cities. Still, neither of us had expected to look out the window and see this on Friday morning:

View from back yard 1340679 BLOG

I bundled up (because I had packed poorly in my haste to leave town) and headed out for a stroll … but stopped on the front steps. Even the utility shed was beautiful under its white blanket.

Outhouse 1340692 cc BLOG

Outhouse 1340699 BLOG

Farther down the gravel road, the trees and leaves were frozen in their fall glory.

Birch colors 1340965 BLOG

Birches 1340877 BLOG

Fall color under snow 1340841 BLOG

Leaf in snow 1340852 BLOG

Leaves in snow 1340662 BLOG

But apart from the tiny footprints of a bird (probably a dark-eyed junco, on its way south) I didn’t see or hear any wildlife.

Tracks 1340789 BLOG

The only sound, in fact, was the soft murmur of the Baptism River’s rapids. No cars, no airplanes, no lawnmowers or snowblowers. Bliss.

Creek 1340774 BLOG

Baptism river 1340898 BLOG

Bridge 1340892 BLOG

See the copper color of the water?

Baptism River 1340777 BLOG

Someone once told me it was from the soil’s high iron content (this is in the Iron Range, after all). But Uta thought it was due to tannins from all the leaves. Whatever the case, the brownish-tan color even leached through the tire tracks on the road.

Road to hwy 61 1350003 BLOG

Road 1340796 BLOG

It was still snowing, so it didn’t take long for my fingers to become red and numb. I was relieved to spot the garage as I walked back up the steep road.

Garage 1340709 BLOG

In the back yard, the lawn furniture and barbecue looked as frozen as I felt. I was grateful to have a cabin to retreat into, instead of just a tent.

Back of cabin 1340664 BLOG

Back of cabin 1350060 BLOG

By the time Uta and I finished breakfast, the snow had turned to rain — and my hopes of seeing any fall color were fading by the hour.

But remember what I said about the changeable weather? In 24 hours, the landscape would change again. I’ll leave you with this photo as a little hint.

Fall color 1350439 BLOG

Our North Shore adventure will continue in a few days.




  1. Beautiful pictures as always.
    I am glad you can find the beauty in this snow covered landscape. Too often my co-workers complain about winter. They also complain about summer and how hot it is, but then conveniently forget their complaints in winter and late fall.
    I am enjoying the season so far, but have not seen snow yet.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Anthony — as always. But don’t give me *too* much credit just yet! Let’s see whether I’m still finding beauty in the snow come February. :). Isn’t it nice to at least have some variety in our complaints, though? Imagine how boring it would be if it were the same year-round.

  2. Oh, I can’t quite believe this…. we went to a wedding at Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) on Saturday AND followed this beautiful event up with a short cruise on said lake from Montreux to Lausanne, AND today we went in the Zurich region to a another family party, again with the most glorious autumnal weather, trees and shrubs in those incredible red/orange/yellow/greenish/brown colours…. I really feel terribly sorry for you – I think I’d have to die if winter came so suddenly and heavily! Courage and joy – from Switzerland and France!

    • Merci infiniment pour le <>, Kiki ! It’s wonderful to see you here again. It sounds like you had an absolutely spectacular weekend. If I didn’t like you so much I might be envious. 😉 Did you get any photos of the fall colors? Here the snow has melted and we’re getting a bit of color too. Which makes me happy as it’s one of my favorite times of year …

      • Thanks to my smartphone I’m in possession of the most delightful collection of pics. It’s funny, I’m in Switzerland right now and in comparison to my usual habitat in France, autumn is much more advanced here – so I shall go back and it will start all over again …. ain’t I the lucky girl? 🙂

        • You are indeed the lucky girl to get two autumns this year! (I felt the same way after seeing the leaves up on the North Shore of Lake Superior and then again in the Twin Cities a week later.) Do you ever share or post your photos anywhere? I would love to see your work.

          • Heide, yes, I still take photos but my eye sight is appalling…. AND I have far more urgent matters to worry about than my non-blog. AND I have planned (and even prematurely maybe promised) to be back on my Flickr photopage once more as of the middle of next year when HOPEFULLY my life and nerves are a bit less frazzled and orderly…. I also share my photos with friends on Whatsapp and in personal mails but no blog…. Send me a mail and I can show you just HOW beautiful my life can be!!! 🙂

    • I really like that utility shed too, I must admit — one of my favorite images I’ve shot in ages! And yes, indeed, the quietness was lovely. But it all seems like a dream now that I’m back in the city!

  3. These are gorgeous! I thought you’d enhanced your photos with color until I read it was all natural!

    We reached 81 for a high temperature yesterday, here in Texas, so I really enjoyed your reminder that another season is being enjoyed elsewhere!

    • Wow … 81 degrees! That sounds like something from another planet to me already. But yes, yes indeed, we are “enjoying” another season in the north, ha ha! If you want to trade places for a week or two, I don’t think it would take too much arm-twisting. 😉 Thank you so much for stopping by! It’s really wonderful to hear from you.

  4. Your description of the snowy silence made me want to experience it. I guess one difference between you and me is that you went outside while I would savor things from indoors with some hot coffee.

    Beautiful photos, as always.

    • I don’t think we’re all that different, J.P. — I didn’t last long before returning indoors to my cup of coffee too. 😉 Thank you for stopping by, and for your kind words.

  5. I love your photographic eye to capture the feel of the event, not just the scene. Thanks for sharing. I live where snow is not a part of my winter experience unless I go looking for it, which I rarely do. I love joining you on your walk. Thanks

    • What a wonderful compliment, Patti … thank you for putting my on cloud nine for the rest of the day! And thank you so much for being such a lovely and faithful companion also on these virtual walks.

  6. Those beautiful leaves, it looks like they danced into the snow and froze! What a treat. Look forward to the next instalment. I too am away amid autumn leaves and saw deer from our bedroom this morning. About as wild as wildlife gets here!

  7. Some lovely winter woodland photos Heide, but it seems far too early in the year to be seeing snow! We’re having a rather mild autumn (about 15 degrees today), so no chance even of frost any time soon with these temperatures!

    • It seems too early for snow, even for us in the north, Dan! But I’m relieved to report it didn’t stick around, so all is well. And how wonderful to hear that the weather is so mild in your corner of the world! Sounds excellent for a bike ride. 🙂

        • I don’t think you’re in the minority there, Dan … I’ve yet to meet ANY biker who extols the virtues of a wet butt! 😉

          • Ha, actually I have pretty effective mudguards and I don’t mind getting wet from falling rain if out in my leisure time, just not on my way to work!

  8. Absolutely beautiful photos, Heide! You wouldn’t think something as monochromatic as winter snow scenes would be so magical? But they so are “) It parallels the artistry of B&W photography; all those texture details highlighted. Love your visual journeys and enjoyment of whatever is at hand – thank you 🙂

  9. Amazing snow this early. And snow/ice with florid Autumn colours. But then you also saw snow in Paris. Coincidence?
    This is a lovely photo series. Beautiful imagery.

    • Coincidence that I saw snow both in Paris and in Minnesota? Perhaps … though I do seem to be the common denominator, don’t I? 😉
      Thank you for your kind words, Mr. Draco. A compliment from you is a compliment indeed!

  10. Wow! Amazing photos! Looks like a beautiful place no matter the weather – maybe. Actually, the photos of the landscape in snow kept bringing to my mind the 2005 Walden Media movie – the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Even the photo of the place after the snow had melted brought to mind the ending when the adult Pevensies are riding through Narnia and accidentally return to Earth.

    • The North Shore really is gorgeous, no matter the weather — though in the summer you need a good repellent against the mosquitoes and flies. 🙂 And your comparison to “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is quite apt, Racheal! I had the exact same mental image too when I stepped outside into this landscape!

    • Agreed, Otto! Even if it’s shocking (and maybe even a bit painful) a fresh blanket of snow is beautiful. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  11. Magical moments in Minnesota ! My stars, every photo, stunning. We’ve also had snow that’s melted. 3 times. The coldest September since the 1800’s 😀 Hooray :/ It’s amazing how the weather changes so quickly. I do miss the solitude of the country at times. Right this moment, my next door neighbour let her Chihuahua out who immediately starts to bark…until she let’s him back in. I love dogs, even dogs I’ve never met on IG have my heart. But this doggie …gah!
    I sound grumpy, I think I need a class of wine, LOL Later tater 😀 x

    • You’ve had the coldest September since the 1800s? Nooooo!!! Fingers crossed it was just a blip and that it in no way portends what lies ahead for the winter. But on the bright side: At least now there’s central heat and electric blankets. Last weekend I went back to the pioneer museum and marveled at how cold it was, even inside the house. Those people were made of tougher stuff than I am.

      That said, I’m sure the pioneers didn’t have to put up with yapping Chihuahuas. Guurrrrl, I feel your pain! At least your neighbor lets the dog back in fairly promptly, by the sounds of it. If the problem gets worse let me know, though, and I’ll send you my recipe for Peamutt Butter Chews. They’re totally healthy and harmless, but if you undercook them a bit they retain the peanut butter’s stickiness and occupy the dog for a while. Or else there’s always wine, LOL. 😉

      Anyway. Hope your world is a bit more calm and quiet this morning.

      Sending you a big warm hug from Minnesota …


      • LOL, peanut butter sounds like a heck of a solution to Chihuahuas…months from now she’ll wonder how he got so fat ! hahahaha. I like the former Rx too. You’re silly fun 😀
        Thank’s tons for those warm hugs from Minnesota. Made me snort cause I’m thinking your winters can be bitter cold too, ha! You make me laugh 😀 xok

    • So glad to hear I’m not the only one who’s all, “OK, that was a nice winter. Time for spring!” LOL. But thank you for your kind words, Kate. You always make my day! xx

    • You’re not the first person to invoke C. S. Lewis’ name in connection with these photos! I’m flattered by the comparison but must agree: It was a magical vision.

  12. mm….beautiful ice n pics. really long to go there as we don’t even have a little bit of snow in HK. black and white pics…

    • I’m glad to bring a little bit of snow all the way to Hong Kong, Wendy! But would you believe that all of these photos are color files? This is how Minnesota can look in winter: it’s like living in a black-and-white movie. Pretty wild, eh? Thank you for stopping by, and for taking the time to comment.

    • Nature IS amazing, Mrs. BWalk. I wish more humans thought as you do and treated her better. Thank you very much for stopping by.

    • Thank you for your kind words about my photos. That is very interesting that you haven’t had snow yet in Helsinki — because it’s actually a bit further north than where I was (in the town of Finland, ironically!). But no doubt you will soon get your blanket of white as well. 🙂

  13. I love the picture of the one chair on the decking, everything looks like it’s been dusted with icing sugar, cold icing sugar, but icing sugar nonetheless.
    (oh dear, there’s the diet mentality turning everything to food again). 😊 😊 😊

    • No matter how beautiful the snow may be, I’m always happier to see the sunshine. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by again!

  14. Snow is always beautiful. Even I am from a place where we experience this beautiful gift of God. I am from Kashmir valley and everyone knows how beautiful and attractive this place is. This place is simply just a masterpiece. The people here are of loving and warm nature, very helpful and a lot more. And even the weather is fabulous, even though the winter is a bit too cold but the beautiful snowfall makes us forget the cold waves. And not to forget the beautiful autumn as well, when everywhere around are leaves scattered losing their lives and getting a beautiful orange colour.
    In short, this is a place that eveyone should visit at least once

  15. I’m feeling cold just looking at your lovely photos. I’m happy enough to experience your winter through your lens. The last photo offers plenty of hope. What a change a day makes.

    • In Minnesota, just an hour can make all the difference! I do hope you’ll be able to visit us sometime; I think you’d like it here (even if it’s not as photogenic as Paris …).

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