Minneapolis Winter Walk

Downtown Minneapolis, looking southwest from the Central Avenue NE bridge. The reflection from the Mississippi River is visible in the lower-left corner of this photo.

Downtown Minneapolis, looking southwest from the Central Avenue NE bridge. The reflection from the Mississippi River is visible in the lower-left corner of this photo.

Yesterday (12/09/2013), between the late-afternoon and the early evening, I caught up a bit with friend and colleague (Brett Ewald) in Dinkytown, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and after I had to get to downtown Minneapolis proper. I thought about riding some kind of public transportation, but since I normally wear outdoor winter gear, it seemed just as good to walk. The temps were hovering around 0°F.

My typical winter gear run-down is as follows: a wool sweater, this over an undershirt and collared shirt. Exterior layers include a down-filled wool coat, a thermal neck warmer, a merino wool scarf, leather choppers, a thick Carhartt winter cap, merino wool socks, and a pair of classic Sorel winter boots. I think I’ve had these Sorel winter boots for about two decades now, purchasing them long ago at a hardware-tractor supply store in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Back to Minneapolis for the walk, though. It was rush hour, and I worked out that it would take just a little more time walking than by any other means. I’m glad I walked. I went northwest from Dinkytown on 4th Street SE, took a left at 11th Avenue SE, and followed this up to Central Avenue NE where I turned left. Traffic intensified at this intersection, as I was again on a main artery.

From there I crossed the bridge, one of the many that spans the Mississippi. I noticed while walking across this bridge that the temperature warmed up a bit. This warmth came from the Mississippi River — the frigid water not as frigid as the exhilarating air. It was also humbling to hear the mighty roar of that water, and this induced a sensation that was similar to what I felt while looking at the verticality of the glacial fjords of New Zealand. The water reflected the neon Gold Medal Flour sign, among others. Whenever I see agricultural industry in Minneapolis-St. Paul, it reminds me about North Dakota history, and why NoDakers banded together to form a state bank and state mill. I also think about how Minneapolis-St. Paul, one of nature’s metropolises, is a distillation of the agrarian world. The city would not have been possible without all the agricultural and natural resources from the Dakotas.

The Mississippi River reflects the neon Gold Medal Flour signage (among other signs). Photo taken from the Central Avenue NE bridge, view to the south.

The Mississippi River reflects the neon Gold Medal Flour signage (among other signs). Photo taken from the Central Avenue NE bridge, view to the south.

Anyhow, after crossing the Central Avenue bridge I was in downtown Minneapolis proper. I turned right on to 1st Street, and I occasionally gazed up toward all the windows in the various high-rises and skyscrapers, noting several Christmas trees framed by their large picture windows. I imagined that a good majority of these folks had jobs as high-powered lawyers, executive officers, banking executives, and Wall Street types. Perhaps they were affiliated with the Timberwolves, Vikings, Wild, or Twins, too? Perhaps. This is why it’s not uncommon to hear the phrase, “big time Minneapolis and good old St. Paul.” A couple bundled up Minneapolisians emerged with their dogs here and there from the ground floor of these skyscrapers for a brief walk around the block to let the dog take care of evening business.

From 1st Street I turned left onto Marquette Avenue, and headed southwest to my destination near the corner of Marquette Avenue and 9th Street South. I think the walk totaled approximately 2 miles, or about 24-25 city blocks. I think the only other piece of cold weather gear I’ll invest in are a pair of light thermal underwear.


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