Beat Those Winter Blues - Explore the Byway

Nothing to do on these winter days? Getting dark way too early for you? Feels like every time you go outside, you end up shoveling snow? Car looking dirty and covered with dried slush?

The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway is here to help. Quietly beautiful and coolly mysterious on these winter days, there are spirit-brightening opportunities at every turn along its 54 miles.

Look forward to the early darkness with an owl-viewing plan. Common along the entire Byway route are both the barred owl and the great horned owl. Lucky birders might even see a northern hawk owl or a snowy owl. Find out more about the Byway’s birds of the night, as well as those you might see during the day, by picking up a Birds of the Byway brochure at the local Chamber information centers.

Put on those walking boots or snowshoes and check out these great Byway spots.

  • Veterans Walking Trail. Take the Wetlands Walk and find out what a shrub swamp looks like in the winter? Does it freeze like a lake? The DNR suggests winter is the very best time to visit Minnesota’s swamps because it’s possible to walk, snowshoe or ski up to the stalk or nest you’d like to learn more about.
  • Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area. Bundle up the kids and bring the dog. Two ponds, wildlife viewing areas, wide snow-covered paths and a nice resting spot in the Gazebo will have you snapping photo after great photo of your family having a ball.

Snow is a piece of art waiting to happen. Organizers of local events know that. That’s why there are snow sculpture contests. The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association, as winner of the recent Ice Fest snow sculpture contest, invites you to get into snow art too. Could that pile by your driveway become a pile of Paul Bunyan’s logs or a Paul Bunyan axe? Look at your snow through a Paul Bunyan prism.

Plan a Byway drive. Yes, even in winter. No need to move fast. Enjoy the softer pace of the season. Appreciate the frosty panorama of the lakes, woods and meadows from vantage points usually visited during other seasons. A few years ago, St. Cloud State University held an Honors Course on the Byway in winter to gather writings inspired by these kinds of views. You can be inspired for free.

News Category: 
Published Date: 
Monday, January 5, 2009
Published By: 
the Lake Country Echo