The Polar Vortex, Filmmaking, and How I Enjoy Cold Minnesota Winters

Frozen Willow Falls with my brother and sister. I hiked here with my brother last year too. I was happy to bring my twin sister along this time to hike in the beautiful Willow Falls State Park.

Hello friends, I hope all of you are taking care of yourselves. I have some good news! In late April, there is an Outdoor Adventure Expo hosted by Midwest Mountaineering, an outdoor equipment store, in which people from all over the USA come together to premiere new outdoor equipment. Well, I was asked by the Expo organizer to present about my recent 7 month backpacking trip, mostly focusing on Mongolian culture, my backcountry trip in Bogh-Khan Uul, and my Trans-Siberian Railway experience. I’ll be premiering my film at the Expo, telling stories, and answering questions about my trip. If you’ll be around Minneapolis during April 25th-27th, then you should stop by the Expo! When the date gets closer, I’ll let you all know the time and day of my presentation.

This last month has been one helluva cold one and it also has brought ups and downs for me. You’ve already heard about one of my ups, so the first sorta-down is that my twin sister has moved to China, once again, to start a new job. Her first job was to help film with a National Geographic crew. I mentioned in my last post about some filmmakers who Colleen befriended in China, well these are the same people. Just this week, she finished up her work with them and now she is moving to Beijing to start her new job at WildChina, a sustainable travel company. She will be assisting in developing sustainable backpacking routes in Yunnan Province, China, mostly focusing on the areas she has experience in, such as the treks near Shangrila and Luguhu. If you are interested in visiting China and finding ways to go off the beaten track, you should check out WildChina. You can find them here and they have a blog too. I look forward to seeing where this new job takes her (and hopefully I can tag along on one of her future treks!). The second down in this past month is that after a long battle with dementia, my grandmother of 88 passed away. She was a great lady and I’ll miss her a lot.

My grandma, Mimi. My grandma, Mimi

About 2 weeks ago you might’ve heard about the “Polar Vortex” that ravaged the Midwest. It was pretty darn cold, but us Minnesotans still find ways to get outside and combat it. At least, I know I did! During the coldest days (-40F/C), I stayed inside and if I did go out, I bundled with lots of layers. But, when it warmed up to 0 to -10 (-17C to -23C), I was outside bicycling to work or going on walks for exercise. I also have been snowshoeing with the family, since the snow this year has been fantastic! I’ve been able to keep myself very active during this cold Minnesota winter and here are some of my highlights from this past month.

Minnehaha FallsFrozen Minnehaha Falls. I slide down the stairs on my butt with my good friend, Katie.

Snowshoeing with MegSnowshoeing across Lake Calhoun with my older sister and brother. The City of Lakes Loppet was happening that weekend too. We stopped by to see the festivities and found some very cool snow sculptures! This was my sister’s favorite.

Snowultimate!And of course, my favorite winter activity: Snow-Ultimate! I play every Saturday morning.

Well, that is about it. For the next couple months, leading up to the Expo, I’ll be busy organizing and editing my film. I’ll also keep busy with all the fun winter activities that I’m planning to do, such as downhill skiing, learning how to cross-country ski, and snowshoeing. The next time you hear from me will probably be about the Bayfield Ice Caves. I’m planning on seeing them next week.

Till then,


2 Comments on “The Polar Vortex, Filmmaking, and How I Enjoy Cold Minnesota Winters

  1. Dear Molly, it is always wonderful to hear your voice and see your photos. Good luck with the expo work! That will be wonderful, and wish we could be in MN in April to see it. Instead we’ll be in Oxford where I’ll be teaching for the term. Son Edward will live in the house — did I tell you he got a job working in the Registrar’s Office at the UO? and that he has wonderful girlfriend? — and we’ll actually go to Iceland after Oxford. Wowee! Your photos of MN remind me of my MN friend who says, when she was growing up in the 60s, MN winters were always like the one you’re now having. She misses it! More power to you, I say. . . . -40 sounds pretty awful.

    Thanks for keeping in touch, we’ll be thinking of you, we miss you, and love, –Louise


    • Louise, thank you for getting me caught up with your life! I’m so happy for Ed. I remember the last time I talked with him that he was questioning his future path. It seems that he has found a pleasant one.
      I can’t wait to see the photos of Oxford and of Iceland. What a treat for Jim and yourself!
      I’m actually planning on coming to Oregon in June. Will you be back? If not, I’m sure our paths will cross again.
      I miss you lots too.
      Big hugs,


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