Lunar New Year!

by Steven Wang, junior writing coach

After the end of crackling fireworks and midnight parties, you may have thought the new year was over. Thankfully, another new year is fast approaching: the Lunar New Year. While this holiday does unfortunately appear in the midst of finals week, it’s nice to know that something more lighthearted is coming after this season of stress and tight schedules.

**Disclaimer: The Lunar New Year is celebrated by various cultures, but this post will be about my personal experience and knowledge regarding Chinese New Year.**

SW 2

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, originates from a fable about a mythical beast named “nian”, which has also become the modern day word for year in Chinese. Every year, the creature terrorized villages—consuming crops, livestock, and even local villagers. Over the course of time, these Chinese villages discovered that the beast feared loud noises and bright colors. As a result, villages hung up bright red lanterns and red cut-outs for their door frames and created loud firecrackers to frighten the beast.

Even after all this time, the celebration hasn’t changed much, but there are a few more traditions not outlined in the ancient story. For example, it’s customary to make dumplings with your family on New Year’s Eve and eat fish to bring prosperity and good fortune into the new year. Additionally, children bow to their elders to wish them a happy new year and are often rewarded with a red envelope or “hong bao.” These envelopes have money stuffed inside and act as a symbol of fortune for the younger generation.

SW

Depending on the lunar calendar, the holiday typically lands between late January to early February with the 2020 Lunar New Year on January 25th. Chinese New Year follows the ancient tradition of the zodiac on a twelve-year cycle. This year is the year of the rat. 

As interesting as the traditions of the Lunar New Year are, to me, Chinese New Year represents more than just a day to stuff myself with dumplings or acquire some cash. It’s a day to recognize how thankful I am to be with my family. Even though my relatives live thousands of miles away in China, the New Year has always served as a unifying factor between us and an opportunity for me to take pride in my cultural heritage.

In the end, even if you don’t celebrate the Lunar New Year, it’s nice to kick back and open your mind to the fascinating origins of other cultural traditions. Happy Lunar New Year everyone! 春节快乐!

 

Oh, the Things a Letter Can Do!

Write for Rights.png

by Daniluz Schueller, senior writing coach

 

Dear Reader,

Sometimes we forget that writing can be powerful.

I am not saying that we do not understand its impact, it is more that with adapting to our busy daily routines, we can overlook the power writing has in our daily lives.

Yes newspapers and articles are good examples of different types of powerful writing, but I also think about those moments where just a small letter can really made a big impact on someone.

 In Sept. 20, 1958 while in a hospital recovering from being stabbed at a book signing event, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received many letters and found one especially memorable. It was from a  young girl who wrote, “‘Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the White Plains High School. While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I’m a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I’m simply writing you to say that I’m so happy that you didn’t sneeze.’” Dr. King shared this at his famous “Mountaintop” sermon 10 years later sharing how grateful he was to not “sneeze” and be alive and to the young girl who cared enough to write about it.

This is just one story of how no matter your age, a letter can still be one of the greatest acts of recognition and kindness a person can do to show that they care.

I found this especially true when I joined the Language and Power Team at the Writing Center last year. We wanted to give opportunities for people to use their writing to address issues they care about. 

One such event we have done for two years now is the Write for Rights event sponsored by Amnesty International. Amnesty International is a non-profit organization that advocates for human rights and with Write for Rights, people all around the world write political or solidarity letters to advocate and support people who have had their human rights violated. It is done in commemoration of International Human Rights Day, December 10th. 

While it may just be writing a letter, when joined with around six million messages of support, these letters do make it possible for change.

From doing this event at my school, I have found that overall, writing is a powerful way to combine someone’s voice and passion about a topic in order to make change. Just like the girl who wrote the letter to Dr. King, sometimes it just takes a small letter of kindness in order to make a difference in someone’s life. 

Honestly, writing is as powerful as how you make of it. 

 

All the best, 

Your friendly Writing Center Coach 🙂

College Applications: A Recipe for Success

by Jai Chadha, senior writing coach

“College is what you make of it.”

It’s an oldie, but a goodie. As a senior who has just finished his final college applications, I feel I have gained some knowledge, at least on my end of the whole process that I hope will help future students as they embark on their own journey. In this blog post, I’m going to share 2 key ingredients to have a — in my opinion — successful college application process. 

**Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions and not the opinions of the Writing Center nor any of the universities I mention, explicitly or implicitly.**

**Second disclaimer: There are many options to pursue after high school besides college. Whether you want to take a gap year, work, do an internship, join the military, pursue trade/technical school, etc., you should do what is right for you. Don’t be pressured into college if it’s not for you. Every single option is an ingredient in your recipe for success!**

sGjMUXUaQUEXD_brY_Rt2NA

The college application process is just that, a process. It isn’t an event. It isn’t that’s a one-and-done type of thing. It’s a long process with many complexities that began pretty much the day you were born. Now I don’t mean to say that you should be thinking about college since day one. THAT IS COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY AND UNHEALTHY. What I mean is that you’re a changing person, and the approximately 35,000 decisions you’ve been making every single day since day one have contributed to the wonderful person you are. They’ve helped develop your values, they’ve narrowed your interests and hobbies, and they’ve helped you decide what kind of education you want.

Ingredient One: Interests

That being said, I think there is one main decision you need to make before you make a Common App account or open a new application: what are you interested in? 

Now I know that at 17 years old, it’s hard to know what you might want to pursue, but I think it’s super important and helpful if you know at least what fields you might be interested in (e.g. Biology, Computer Science, Humanities, etc.). Knowing which fields you’re interested in or better yet, what career you’d want to go into, not only clarifies things for you, but it helps tremendously in the college application process. For example, some colleges are known for their technology programs, others are known for medical preparations, and even more are better for humanities, and some provide a liberal arts education which involves a good education in all of the topics we’ve studied in high school (i.e. you have to take Math, Science, Social Studies, and English classes). On the other hand, say you know what kind of career you want to go into and the location of your university matters more. The East Coast has New York with plentiful opportunities in all fields, but it also has Wall Street and Washington D.C. The West Coast has Silicon Valley. The Midwest has Chicago. The South has Houston, Atlanta, and more.

If you know what you want to do and/or where you want to end up, you can narrow your college search to those filters and your college applications will become infinitely more clear. 

Ingredient Two: How many times should you click ‘submit?’

Some of you may have heard about various strategies to take when approaching the college application process. Something like “only apply 5 colleges,” the pyramid strategy with the fewest number of ‘reach’ schools, several ‘target’ schools, and the most number of ‘safety’ schools, or applying to the most you can, etc. 

sfuok6QSqh4wGN3ZWI00F1g

All strategies have their merits, but the strategy you choose needs to be ‘you specific’ and needs to be justified. There are a lot of considerations for choosing a strategy too. Say you want to go into law or medicine and you want to plan for further education by completing your undergrad closer to home. Or maybe there aren’t that many schools that offer the program you’re looking for. Or maybe you’re an athlete and you got recruited. Or maybe you want to go to a particular technical college. Or…

No matter what strategy you choose, I have just one major piece of advice. 

Make sure you have safety, target, and reach schools. Having a good spread of universities to which you are applying will help you be happy wherever you end up. You don’t ever want to regret not applying to a school because you don’t think you can get into it.

In the end, whether you’re applying to one college or 20 colleges, just ensure you have a solid reason for applying to each college. Whether it’s the location, a program, scholarships, you like the vibe, a particular professor or course, or even the food, always have a supporting reason for applying to a college.

As you start your journey in 8 short months or in 3 years (bravo to you for being very proactive), always keep the two ingredients in mind and you’ll surely have a wonderful recipe for success. 

Holidays

1125x750.jpeg.6a0554333e6d4694bbcfbd150db8860d.large

by Maxwell Maveus, sophomore writing coach

I was holding in my hand the last reminder of the past.

It sparkled and glistened in the twinkling lights, 

Serving as a delicate reminder of our past delights. 

I covered it gently in tissue and placed it away, 

In hopes that my memories would never fray.

I feared this Christmas might be different from the last, but

Why reminisce over an experience of the past?

The tree stood tall as a beacon of hope

Yet,

All I could do that year was mope. 

Now in the future, I recall with envy

That Christmas Eve which never was to be

Again.

A melancholy hung over us that night, the snow stifling our feelings of joy. It wasn’t very noticeable, and it was more like a mist amid our happy feelings. We tried to ignore it with food and gifts, but it was omnipresent. The night is one I look back upon with joy, but what made it difficult was knowing it would never happen again. 

It was December 2018. Many families have their holiday traditions, and ours happens to be celebrating Christmas. My father had recently gotten engaged to my current stepmother, Jen. Our home was to be put on sale in January. My parents had been divorced for the majority of my life, and so our tradition was to celebrate Christmas twice: once with my father on Christmas Eve and once with my mother on Christmas Day. We would always have a filet and cookies and open gifts around our fireplace. Unlike some divorcées, my parents considered themselves good friends. We still spent Christmas Eve together, and so it was one of the few times our whole family was along. 

My father became engaged to Jen shortly after her pregnancy was announced. He asked for the blessing of my brother and me, which we gave. I knew everything was going to change from that moment forward; I just hadn’t realized the pace that it would. And with that ring, a new future for all of us began, starting with my holiday traditions. 

The night began well enough. To an outsider, it would have looked like every Christmas Eve we had spent together. We lit the fire and laughed at old stories; we ate a nice meal and downed the cookies; we opened gifts to great delight. Yet, the future found its way into our night. Afterward, when the night was over, I realized nothing was ending. Yes, things are changing, but it’s not a house that matters, or even that my family comes together on that particular night. It’s the feelings between all of us. Of course, it was still painful and sad to say goodbye to things of the past, but I began to look toward the future with a feeling of hope and optimism. 

As of writing this, I am about to have the same holiday with a new family. I have a half brother and step-siblings, a new house, and a step-mom. So much has changed, and while I will always cherish the past in my heart, I look forward to starting a new tradition. The holidays are not about history; they’re about the present, and what someone chooses to make of them.

Voyage 2: Elm Creek Ski Opener

On this voyage, we went to the Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener at Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove. We carpooled with fellow Nordic-ers and enjoyed the drive, singing Christmas songs all the way up. Taking advantage of the snow and cold is an essential skill for any Minnesotan, so we were thrilled to get out on our skis. 

Fresh Air

img_9257.jpg

After checking out the atmosphere and getting our free stuff (see: Sunny Day), we made our way onto the course to start skiing some loops. It was pretty chilly at first but as we maneuvered around the civilians enjoying a day out skiing, it began to warm up. The frosty air turned into a beating sun and sweaty limbs as we put in effort to get in a workout even on a Saturday. We were moving fast and still we could appreciate the glowing snow and trees adorned with flakes of white. After working hard we decided to lesisurely ski back to the parking lot through a path that felt more in the heart of the woods. Going this way we could really see the beauty of “natural” ski trails, these were the trails that there were branches and leafs to avoid and little hills and a narrowing path that we attempted to navigate. This felt like true skiing. 

Happy Campers

The entire community of outdoorsy people seemed to all assemble at the opener. Newbies, amateurs, and experts alike were snapping their toes into their bindings and skating away. Grinning faces surrounded, even as people struggled to get up their very first hill. 

On the subject of skiing experts, we even stumbled upon a retired Olympic skier while looking for help on a pair of broken bindings. He casually gave his advice on what to do about the bindings and asked us about our team. Upon hearing that we were from Minnetonka, he mentioned how he knew our coach and he had come talk to us in past years. We both were very surprised and when questioned further we figured out in fact that he was an olympian. To us, this just showed how tight knit the ski community is, even through fame, and it’s a great thing to be a part of. 

Sunny Day

img_9240.jpg

At events like these, free stuff abounds! The front area of the park was lined with tents of outdoor businesses, clubs, and outfitters, each eager to discuss their services – so eager, in fact, that they lured you in with the promise of free stuff. It was clear to see which visitors were frequenting the tents, as some walked away with their arms full: ice packs, stickers, water bottles, bags, and more. Games were also a welcome attraction: LL Bean held a boot toss while Midwest Mountaineering had a wheel for spinning. 

And that’s not even to mention the main attraction: THE FREE BUFF. Buffs are an absolute essential for any winter adventure, and are incredibly versatile. Packages boast 16 different styles; trying each one is a rite of passage. Therefore, as there are “only 1,000” buffs available for skiers at the opener, it is a race to get one. Everyone in our group got one, so of course we celebrated with a selfie!

Lace Up

Some of you may be thinking, “But I don’t even know how to ski!” Never fear, lessons are available, and at the opener, they’re free! Ski rentals are also free, so this event is the best opportunity to learn! There are also rentals and lessons available throughout the season. Any Nordic-er you know is bound to offer to teach you (we are a very passionate bunch). 

Elm Creek is also a great destination for many other winter opportunities: downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding, and even dog sledding, if that’s your thing. 

When next December comes around there snow way you can miss the opener! The welcoming community, fun skiing opportunity, and promise of free stuff is highly worth the wait. 

 

Flight 2020

By Jeff Erickson, Minnetonka High School Principal

AdobeStock_121339960-750x500.jpg

 

We’ve all heard the message please put on your own oxygen mask first before you assist others.” 

 

Pretty simple advice–take care of yourself before caring for others.  I’ve said the same thing to you, students, teachers, and my very own children.  Yet, while I understood the words I was not living that advice myself. For many years, I did not make myself the priority to better serve and care for those around me.  Yearly visits to my own doctor were repeated reminders of where I was falling short. I knew what I needed to do and I was not doing it. Yet, as a good friend once told me, the lesson will continue to present itself until you learn it.  In March of this year, I decided it was time for change. It decided to time to make myself and my personal wellness a priority. After much thoughtful reflection during Spring Break 2019, I committed to making a change.

 

There is no quick solution. It came down to two changes: being intentional and careful about what I was choosing to eat and daily exercise.  Gone are the daily cans of Coke, and carb-filled bagel sandwiches…. and in its place? Homemade breakfast burritos, fruit, and yogurt. For me, it mattered to slow down and make better choices each and every day.  Also, the start to my day is different. Instead of a series of excuses of why I cannot make time to exercise, I have a 5:00 am start time on my treadmill. My changes have been simple and thoughtful, and as your health teachers can affirm, that’s what it takes. 

 

Over the past eight months, these choices have become easier and frankly my world has changed more than I thought.  I feel better, both mentailly and physically. I start the day with new energy. I feel I can do more and I feel happier.   I told my staff in August I will be able to better serve our school community by taking care of myself and in modeling good self-care.  

 

As you know, I close each Beyond 140 on the bridge.  So I end my Writing Center Blog with a virtual bridge from me to you.  Tonka, a two-week break provides an opportunity to reflect on your own and I ask you to think about 3 ideas–

 

  1. How are you investing in yourself?
  2. How will you make space for personal growth (both physical and mental)?
  3. How will these areas of growth allow you to better help those around you?

 

Tonka, welcome aboard to Flight 2020 with a direct service to a new year.  Remember, you don’t need to wait for the emergency to act. Pull the mask down and tighten the string, then feel free to assist others.   Thank you for listening to this important safety message. Buckle up. We are ready to take off.

 

Happy New Year!

Have a great break.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

HE 1

by Hailey Ens, junior writing coach

Following Thanksgiving and the massive snowstorm that accompanied it, it is definitely starting to feel like a classic Minnesotan winter. It’s getting colder, the workload is picking up, and despite the winter break being right around the corner, it can be difficult to keep spirits high at this time of year. So whether you want to maximize your festivities for this holiday season or wish to make the most of winter, here are some ways you can put your stresses and chilliness aside and take advantage of this magical time of year.

Get Cozy

If embracing the cold weather isn’t your forte, there are plenty of ways to stay comfortable during this time of year.

  • Read a book next to the fire
  • Create a pillow fort
  • Make tie blankets
  • Host a bonfire

HE 2

Explore the Outdoors

It might have been a long time since you last truly enjoyed the outdoors and let out your inner child. Take this chance to fully embrace what it means to live in Minnesota.

  • Go ice skating
  • Play in the snow
  • Go sledding
  • Visit the Minnesota ice sculptures

HE 3

Eat Up

It’s no secret that one of the main reasons that winter is the most wonderful time of the year is because of the food. There’s no reason to wait until the holidays to start enjoying some of your favorite flavors.

  • Bake cookies
  • Make a warm and hearty soup
  • Bake a pie
  • Make peppermint bark

HE 4

Get Festive

No matter if you are planning on celebrating any holidays this season or not, here are some things to boost your joyous spirits.

  • Have a holiday/winter movie marathon
  • Make DIY ornaments
  • Go caroling
  • Put up holiday lights and decorations

HE 5

Spread Joy

It wouldn’t be the season of giving without giving thanks for what you have and giving to those who may not be as fortunate.

  • Volunteer or donate to somewhere you are passionate about
  • Make a list of things you’re thankful for
  • Write letters to soldiers overseas
  • Make cards and gifts for loved ones

HE 6

So maybe you don’t get overly excited over the first snowfall, or maybe you find the rest of the year mundane in comparison to the excitement of December. Whether you’re overwhelmed by schoolwork, busy prepping for the holidays, or facing any other stresses this time of the year, don’t let these things take away from your ability to enjoy this joyous time of year. Gather some friends and play out in the snow like you used to. Snuggle up with a cup of hot chocolate while wearing your favorite socks. Write letters to your family members about why you are thankful way. The options are endless so make sure to take advantage of them before the snow turns to grass!

 

What’s That One Word Again?? The One That Means… You Know???

by Aspen Schrupp, junior writing coach

Image 1

Imagine this: 

You’re at your desk furiously typing away as you add the final touches to your essay that’s due in less than two hours. You’re almost done with your conclusion paragraph when it happens: you’re in the middle of a sentence and you blank on the word you’re looking for. You pause and allow yourself to think, until panic sets in. You know you know this word, yet it eludes you. Ultimately, and unfortunately, you cannot think of the word, so you must either a) rephrase the sentence or b) choose the second best, but not nearly as perfect of a fit, word.

Sound familiar?

Well, don’t let these small things slow you down any longer! Here are some of the best websites that will get you out of even the biggest memory lapse:

    1. Thesaurus (https://www.thesaurus.com)

While this first one may be obvious, it is a must to include! This thesaurus lists numerous synonyms for any and all kinds of words along with- *drum roll*- phrases! Not too many other thesauruses, or websites in general, will give you synonyms for short phrases, so this is a good tool to have in your back pocket.

 

2. WordHippo (https://www.wordhippo.com)

Although this website also serves as a thesaurus, it can do lots of other things, too! Have you ever known the opposite of the word you were trying to say? If so, WordHippo is for you! WordHippo can give you the antonyms of words, and if you’re a poet, it can also help you find words that rhyme. Plus, if you’re not sure how to use a word in context, type it into WordHippo, and it will give you examples!

 

3. Writer’s Web (http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/trans1.html)

This website is a lifesaver! If you’re anything like me, you use “therefore” way too much and “however” out of context, but do not fear! Writer’s Web provides a bunch of transition words all grouped into categories to help make your writing flow!

 

4. Tip of My Tongue (http://chir.ag/projects/tip-of-my-tongue/)

If there is a word you simply cannot remember, Tip of My Tongue was made for you. I recently found out about this website, and it’s super cool! You can type in things such as “sounds like,” “starts with,” and “means” to find the word you’re thinking of!

With these websites in mind, go! Write your essay! Discover the power of a really good thesaurus!

A Complete Guide to Black Friday Survival 

by Lindsey Muench, junior writing coach

 

Welcome campers! With Thanksgiving approaching, Black Friday is just around the corner. Sure, turkey and family are important, but we’re focusing on a very complex task: Black Friday shopping.

If you’re a hardcore Black Friday enthusiast and camp outside of stores, chances are you already know how to survive… My advice for you is to bring a few 5 Hour Energies and bundle up!

black fri 4

Fun fact: Last year, Google analyzed foot traffic data from U.S. smartphones to see how crowded stores get during the holiday season. On Black Friday, traffic was lowest from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., and highest between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Here, I have for you a guide, to not only survive Black Friday, but thrive. By the end of this blog, you’re going to be the new Bear Grylls of Black Friday, so stay tuned for tips, tricks, and life hacks other shoppers can only dream about. 


Use your trusty device 

black fri 3

Chances are you already possess the most valuable item to secure your Back Friday success: your mobile phone. Here are a few ways you can make your phone your best friend on Black Friday.

Hop on social media

Instead of flipping through endless magazines, newspapers, and catalogs to find coupons for what you want, follow retailers on social media. They often post promotions and deals on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

Download coupon apps!

Try downloading these free apps to make shopping more efficient, quicker, and cheaper! 

  • Shopular. Shopular is an app that shows you deals when you approach stores you love! 
  • Flipp. Flipp shows you coupons from hundreds of retailers. You also get to custom make shopping lists. 
  • The Coupons App. The Coupon App is a flyer and coupon aggregator. You can customize your alerts to your shopping preferences.
  • TheBlackFriday.com App. The name speaks for itself! This app shows you the most exclusive Black Friday deals. I would recommend this one specifically for the optimal Balck Friday app of choice. 

Plan ahead

        We all know it’s going to be the busiest shopping day of the year this Friday, so don’t leave the house without a plan of where you’re going, and what you want to buy. 

        According to Shopify, 27 percent of US shoppers plan to go on Thanksgiving day, compared to a whopping 70 on Black Friday, so start early!

        A good way to get on track to finding deals is checking the good ‘ole Sunday papers. Look through catalogs, then hop online. There are so many Black Friday websites that can help you, and you can sign up to receive deal alerts from helpful sites like BradsDeals.com, BlackFriday.com, and Nerd Wallet


Dress comfortably, relax, and stay safe

        We all know Black Friday altercations can turn toxic. Make sure you’re taking basic precautions, after all, it’s just shopping. Make sure to be extra careful in the parking lots, try not to fig over the last items, keep valuables close, and dress warm! We love layers!

black fri 2


Black Friday not your thing?

        Mark your calendar for these equally important, but much less stressful upcoming shopping dates you most likely never knew existed.

Small Business Saturday: Saturday, November 30. This day is not so much about getting stellar deals, but about supporting your community. Small Business Saturday encourages people to shop small and bring more holiday shopping to local businesses.

Cyber Monday: Monday, December 2. The Black Friday of the internet! 

Green Monday: Monday, December 9. Green Monday is another internet sales day to encourage further holiday cheer. It’s also for those who realize they only have 10 shipping days left before Christmas and haven’t gotten anything yet… If this happens a lot, you know who you are, so look out for this day.

Free shipping day: Sunday, December 14.

Voyage 1: Wolsfeld Woods

Welcome!

This year Writing It Out has a new segment for Set Sail called Voyageur! This segment is run by two blog editors, Julia Ruelle and Ellie Retzlaff. Who are they, you may be asking yourself? Well, look no further!!

Julia Ruelle (left) and Ellie Retzlaff (right) at the capitol after a meeting about the Boundary Waters. 

The two of us are very passionate about the outdoors and have done a lot of work in protecting the Boundary Waters in particular, but are very excited for this segment and the opportunity to visit so many other beautiful environments near us. (Sidenote and shameless self promo: if you are reading this and interested in the BWCA as well, join Boundary Waters Club, it’s on Thursdays, ask one of us for more information!)

Throughout Voyageur, we will be writing reflections about outings, adventures, and everything in between. You can expect to see both local and further away excursions to encourage you to explore and get outside. The segment will be highlighting the wilderness and its ability to not only provide a sense of peace and serenity that a busy highschooler’s life may need, but also its ability to bring people together. The outdoors serves as a great way to be with friends and family that only requires your shoes and a map (and maybe, as we get into these colder months, a coat).

Last note: We were finally inspired to post this by Max Meyer’s recent post about procrastination. While this post is more of a fall adventure, we promise to post more current trips soon, especially those highlighting our wonderful winter months in Minnesota!

VOYAGE #1 – Wolsfeld Woods

Our first excursion took us into the woods, Wolsfeld Woods, to be precise. A short drive east led us to this protected area in the backyard of a church, right off the road. While this was unexpected, once we entered the [poorly marked] trail, we suddenly felt immersed in the wild, a sharp contrast from the rushing cars and modern signs that enveloped the surrounding highway. 

Compass

Wolsfeld Woods is not too far of a drive from the high school, so depending on where you live, this place might be a short trip you can take with your friends and family to get out into nature. Also nearby is downtown Wayzata, and while we don’t condone rooting for yellow and blue, local coffee shops and eateries like Penny’s and Crisp & Green make for a fun stop either before entering the woods, fully fueled, or warming up after a hike (it is winter after all). 

Fresh Air

Hearing the crunch of the leaves beneath our feet and feeling the sun’s rays upon us, we felt refreshed by the walk. Having both stayed home over MEA, this jaunt through the woods made us feel fortunate for the abundant nature in Minnesota. Exploration and adventure is so accessible here in Minnesota! Fall is a breathtaking time of year, and in this forest, yellow is the color of the season. 

We also re-connected with our childlike side, escaping from some of the stressors of high school, and climbed a tree! It was exhilarating to climb, branch after branch, still carried by a strong pine, even if we’ve changed a bit since elementary school. 

Happy Campers

In accordance to our hopes for this blog, we both felt that the woods helped strengthen our friendship. Sappy as it may be, nature really does well to connect us to our friends and family, and simply a hike in the woods brought laughing, some deeper conversation, and, of course, a little fear (see: climbing a tree and staying there for a solid twenty minutes because we were both a little fearful of breaking an ankle on the way down). Being in the bubble of the woods it becomes much easier to talk and focus on the present company. You will be sure to make your own memories, whether that be climbing a tree, navigating the puddles, or jumping in to the leaves (or snow). 

Rocks & Roots

No hike is complete without a little mud! Thanks to this fall’s heavy rains, sections of the trail were flooded by the high banks of the lake. We were lucky to be wearing our trusty hiking boots, and climbed across fallen branches to stay dry. We recommend that you are mindful of recent weather and prepare accordingly when adventuring!

If you decide to visit Wolsfeld Woods, be sure to leaf your phone at home and embrace the outdoors! (not really: you should bring your phone to take artistic photos like the ones above, the only difference may be a bit of snow)