Tag Archives: Minnesota

A Superbowl Depression

This is what many seem to experience the day after the Super Bowl. It means professional football is over for many months so Sundays are now void of this captivating activity. Yes, I understand many are thrilled another season has ended and they no longer have to endure another football game until the end of summer and Eagles fans are in a state of happiness that will last much of the year so will not miss a game being played for awhile.

Crew 52 being deployed along Superbowl Live

For me I’m a little conflicted. Being so involved in the Super Bowl this year has been exciting and exhausting so it’s nice to have this time to rest and catch up on things not done during the 10 days of festivities. This exhaustion came from having additional commitments every day for these 10 days in addition to working. That meant getting to work by 5am, leaving mid-afternoon to either volunteer at Superbowl Live or rehearse for the halftime show usually getting back home around 10 pm and then doing it all over again the next day.

Heading to US Bank Stadium for halftime rehearsal

Do get me wrong, this was a lot of fun and something I’ll remember for a very long time. Thankfully it only lasts a week and a half. So where does the depression come in (more of a let down than I depression I guess) ? There has been so much build up and preparation for months and months before game day and it all stops abruptly after the Superbowl is played. It reminds me of getting married in that there is a lot of preparations and then it’s over. There’s a feeling of emptiness because there is no longer the need to spend time on it anymore so now what do you do with that time? You begin to miss the excitement that comes with all the planning and anticipation for this larger than life event. Conversations with people seem a little more mundane after being able to discuss exciting things happening each day and getting different perspectives on these events.

Players entering the field

After a week or two there will be adjustments and that time will be filled with other activities. The people you’ve come to know during volunteering and rehearsals have all gone back to their lives as well and this common thing you were all a part of has ended. Fortunately there’s email and social media to help but it’s still not the same as putting on a uniform that matches many other people creating this group of people all trying to help or being on the Superbowl field with hundreds of others getting ready for one of the largest events in the world.

Enjoying the halftime show

Super Bowl 52–Getting Ready

Minnesota is almost ready to open Super Bowl Live in downtown Minneapolis but there is still a lot of activity finalizing the numerous attractions available for free to fans. Something Minnesota is able to do, which is nearly impossible for other Super Bowl Hosts, is ice sculptures which give a unique feel to any event.

Conert stage being built

Live outdoor performances could be a challenge depending on the outdoor temperatures but will definitely bring a festive atmosphere to this area at night. Much of this stage is built with a few remaining parts to be put into place. A recent heavy snowfall may have delayed the completion a little but it’s Minnesota and that is to be expected from time to time.

Birkebeiner Bridge and sight of NBC broadcasts

Brought into Minneapolis for this special event is the Birkebeiner Bridge which is used for the American Birkebeiner cross country ski race in Hayward, Wisconsin. Plans are to use this for skiing, snow tubing, and skijoring for those that want to give it a try. This is also the sight where NBC will be broadcasting during the Super Bowl. In the photo above you can see their purple broadcast tent already to go.

Looking down the street where Super Bowl Live will take place

Along with several fun and free activities there will be many food vendors to serve all of those hungry fans. Their temporary locations are being constructed all along the sight of Super Bowl Live. I’m looking forward to seeing all of this in action from my street level view while volunteering with the Crew 52.

Some of the attractions of Super Bowl Live

Mystery Cave

A few years ago I searched for caves of Minnesota, after exploring Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and found Mystery Cave. This is a state park which offers tours through the largest caverns of the cave located in the bluffs of Southeastern Minnesota. We’ve attempted to plan a visit when we first discovered it but plans fell through so we kept it on a list of “someday” things to do. Fortunately this “someday” event actually was achieved this summer. We hosted a French student for a few weeks and thought this would be an enjoyable place to show some of the many faces of Minnesota. He had never been in a cave before and was fascinated with it.

Walking through the caverns carved by water

Caves are very fascinating places and this one was no different. As is common, it is cool in Mystery Cave which felt nice on a hot summer afternoon. After descending a couple of flights of stairs we were transported into another world. Here is complete darkness surrounded by layers and layers of stone carved over thousands of years of water carrying away each piece it can grab until it can no longer flow through this area. These natural tunnels continue to transform yet today as water from the surface still drips through these rocks altering their environment.

Veins of Mystery Cave

As this water drips down the stone walls it carries with it minerals from above which separate from the water as it flows down these walls creating these veins throughout the caves giving them an appearance of life. The veins of Mystery Cave give it a beautiful and amazing ambiance adding to the wonder around each new cavern. What will this cave look like in a thousand years from now? What will be the same, if anything? What did the cave look like a thousand years ago?

An underground lake

This is the first cave I’ve toured that I saw an underground lake. While it was smaller than I was prepared for it was incredibly clear and had a very deceptive depth that could only be realized by shining light through the surface and moving it around. Even then the deception required a focused realization and understanding of what you are viewing.  We continued through some of the narrow passageways returning to the beginning and climbed out to natural daylight squinting while adjusting to it once again. It was cool enough inside and hot and humid enough outside that everyone’s glasses fogged immediately upon exiting the cave making those with corrective lenses laugh as this usually happens during the winter, not summer.

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Turning a City Purple

It’s been several weeks now since the passing of Prince and many of the tributes are now over. Over the past several weeks I’ve talked to a number of people and listened to their stories regarding interactions with him. Some who’ve met him on a more personal level, others who’ve been to some of his more intimate shows in the area, and those who’ve gone to full scale concerts. Many in his home town of Minneapolis have been affected by Prince. How many people in the world have such an effect as to be able to turn symbols around the world purple? Very few that I can think of.

The setting sun behind Minneapolis

While I didn’t take in those paying tribute at his recording studio Paisley Park or the well known night club First Avenue, I wanted to photograph the city he grew up in at night and what better opportunity than while it was lit up in purple? After work one evening I heading out in search of a great place to capture it all. While I didn’t fully succeed in capturing it all, I think I got some interesting pictures of Minneapolis.

Purple lights becoming more visible in the darkening sky

The first goal was to photograph the city as the sun set behind it so I headed to a spot east and set up waiting for dark to begin falling. I was surprised to find I was not the only one taking advantage of this situation and specific location. In fact much of the night I came across others doing the same thing in the same places. Sure the opportunity for a unique picture was decreased but it was somewhat comforting to know others thought taking these night photos was a good idea also.

The rebuilt 35W bridge reflecting purple in the Mississippi River

As the sun continued its trek below the horizon, more and more purple lights became visible in the darkening sky. Blackness continued to fill the sky over this busy city making these colorful lights stand out in places I didn’t expect. There were stories of a few buildings in downtown, and the 35W bridge, being lit up in purple but many other buildings had joined in on this night bringing an even larger tribute to Prince’s place.

Minneapolis from the north side of the city

After photographing in this location for a couple of hours while the last light from the sun dipped below the city I decided to try a different perspective to see if more of these colored buildings could be spotted so I drove to the north side of Minneapolis. Not much time was spent here as I couldn’t find a composition that brought out these purple accented buildings in a way I wanted so after a few pictures it was off to the west side of the city. From there, more buildings lit up in Prince’s color appeared and provided some nice opportunities with the rising moon in the background. After photographing this night cityscape for over an hour from this location, I decided it was time to call it a night and head for home and a soft pillow.

Minneapolis with the moon rising behind it

 

Waterfalls at Tettegouche

High Falls on the Baptism River

While hosting a student from France this summer we took a couple of days to head to the North Shore of Minnesota to see Lake Superior. A great place to stop is Tettegouche State Park to see both Lake Superior and the highest waterfalls entirely in Minnesota (there’s one slightly taller but it borders Minnesota and Canada). This was in the middle of August so the waterfalls are not gushing with as much ferociousness as earlier in the year but still a beautiful sight. It was raining and nearing nightfall during our time here which actually allowed us to have these falls all to ourselves. A rare opportunity this time of year.

Jumping into the Baptism River at High Falls

The Baptism River is cold (yet warm when compared to Lake Superior) people like to swim near the falls and jump from a nearby cliff. A dry towel to wipe the water from your skin and warm clothing to put on shortly after was a good idea on this day as the temperature was not very warm and there was no sun to warm up in so hypothermia was certainly a possibility. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend a stop at Tettegouche State Park to explore the high falls. There is a short hike of just under a mile to get there from the nearest parking lot which is worth it if you can make it. There are a couple of smaller waterfalls to see if you have the time to hike to them. Darkness was approaching so we were unable to check out the rest of the smaller waterfalls. That will have to wait for another time.

Up the River to The High Falls