The Outside World, In and Around Duluth

Lester River on Ice

The Lester River is good and frozen right now.

We’ve had a couple nights of below-zero temperatures, which has frozen the river all the way through, and then forced the flowing water up over the top, making for some beautiful and glassy surfaces.

And occasionally, there are a few surprises hidden below the surface:

Here’s the Lester River, just below The Shallows:

It’s funny, because there are sections where the ice is so smooth, you want to run back home to get your ice skates. Then, there are cratered and pocked segments that are all but impassible. And occasionally, you’ll find a nice 40′ long section of real snow, and then you want to go back and get your skis. This doggone low-snow winter has been challenging for a winter lover.

On the other hand, you get to see a lot of stuff that you might not normally get to see.

Sensual lines in rocks and the ice:

This is great – the ice is normal, regular ice on top – flat and hard. Underneath, though, it’s a wild explosion of crystals:

In the summer, this is a little waterfall. Maybe three feet high. Now, in winter, it’s beautifully terraced series of tiny steps too slippery for any feet:

It also reminds me a little of scalloped potatoes – the way they all stack on each other.

If this were a normal winter, I wouldn’t spend much time on the river – I’d be out skiing on groomed trails, sweating and going too fast to see these little details.

It’s good to get out and see my stomping grounds in this unique winter. To find the positive in what might otherwise cause me to grouch.

Never a bad day when you’re outside.


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