In Defense of Cold Vacations: Because You can Hike Frozen Waterfalls

The crew, all bundled up

Leah and I have been MIA for a bit because we went to Minneapolis. A question we got a lot while planning, going, gone, and after returning was, “Why?” I think this was mostly with the implied addition of, “Since it is so cold there.” Thus, what got into us? Well, the short and best answer is that Leah and I have good friends there—I couple I knew and worked with when I lived in Seoul. They’re a blast, and it was really good to see them again. But another reason is that we’ve come to see cold locals as the very best places to take trips to. The colder the better, with reasons as follows.

Minnehaha Falls from above

One could argue there is something in the genes—my mom’s side of the family is from Alaska, where a number of my aunts and uncles and most of my cousins still live. But in truth, there are more fun things to do in colder places than in warm ones. The highlight of this trip was hiking up to and getting behind a frozen waterfall. I’ve never seen anything like it, and if you type “Minnehaha Falls frozen,” or some words to that effect, into Google you can see even better pictures than what I took. The ordeal of getting behind the falls was slick—despite it being around 13 degrees Fahrenheit while hiking that day, due to running water things were wet—and thus it was a big dangerous I suppose, but it was still completely worth it.

Inside the falls — my pants are so wet (snicker)

Other highlights include hiking through a frozen woods, walking around frozen lakes (our favorite joke after the first: only 9,999 to go!), seeing cross country skiers, touring the Hmong village, going to perhaps the biggest brewery I’ve ever been in that also serves food, trying “yellow milk” at one of Minneapolis’s great coffee shops, hearing stories of the recent Polar Vortex, and going swing dancing. Cold climates have the very best indoor activities, and swing dancing brought Leah and I back to our dating days. By the way, here’s a tip for the future kids: take swing dancing classes in college, because they really pay off. And in this case, we got to dance to a live band in a very unique old Masonic Lodge, which was well worth the price of admission.

I bet it’s even better at sunset

We also watched a lot of TV, crashed a very fun party with lots of games, and made our own pho. The overall trip reminded me of Leah and I’s very short honeymoon to Toronto, which is a great, if somewhat cold, city. When living in Korea I went to a few tropical places “for holiday,” like the Philippines and Malaysia, and those trips were fun. There really is only so much you can do on warm sandy beaches, however, and I think it will be a long time before I return to those places, or to similar spots like Hawaii. Cold is where it’s at. Now, the future goal is to save up to go to Iceland. The more we read about it the better it seems. Some day!

–Jeff and Leah

Someone got in our photo!

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