Exploring Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog


Temperatures were in the negative digits and the sun was still below the horizon when we left the Bed & Breakfast in Hibbing, Minnesota. It was nearly 6am as we pointed our car towards Sax-Zim Bog, a layer of ice coated the rear window and we had every inch of skin covered in anticipation of the winds whipping the snowy landscape – but we wanted to see a Great Gray Owl.

The Veterans Conservation Corps & Sibley State Park


The stock market crash of October 1929 sent the United States spiraling into the deepest economic downturn in history. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office on March 4,  1933, nearly half of the country’s banks had collapsed and between 13 and 15 million Americans were unemployed. FDR called the Congress into Emergency Session five days later and proposed the Emergency Conservation...

One Last Hurrah


This post marks the end of our first scamping season. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been the proud owners of our bouncing, baby Scamp for six months already! We spent more time camping this year than we have in any other in any other season, but still, all good things must come to an end. Before the snow flies, we had one final outing and then put her in storage for the long...

A Closer Look: Wood Lake Nature Center


Wood Lake Nature Center was one of the first nature centers built in the Twin Cities. Dedicated in 1971, it was once a recreational lake surrounded by homes. The lake was drained of most of its water in the 1950s. Friends of Wood Lake (FOWL) was formed in 1991 and thanks to their advocacy and fundraising efforts, Wood Lake thrives in Richfield, Minnesota. Approximately 72,000 visitors enjoy the...

A Wood Lake Walk


Whenever I talk to people about how much I love living in Minneapolis, I tell them about how our fair city was built preserving green space. Because of that, this nature girl doesn’t have to go far to enjoy the outdoors. The beautiful fall weather was perfect for a visit to Wood Lake Nature Center. This nature preserve  isn’t in Minneapolis proper, but neighboring Richfield is as...

Fall Escapes to the North Woods


Have I mentioned lately how much I love camping? We packed up the car and headed north for some scamping, it was our first visit to Big Bog State Recreation Area. It’s right by Upper Red Lake, Red Lake is the largest freshwater lake located entirely within Minnesota. The air was alive with monarch butterflies. And something far more sinister. We watched this female Northern Harrier hunting...

Remembering A Snowy Owl


Sad news came a few days ago when it was announced that a well-known Snowy Owl had been found dead in Minnesota. Last January, this owl had been hit by a bus in Washington, D.C. and was brought to the Minnesota Raptor Center for care and rehabilitation. I watched with rapt attention as the bird underwent a feather transplant: And then I watched her triumphant release: I was devastated to learn...

Happy Campers


I wasn’t the only one ready to play in the woods last weekend: It seems like the more eager you are to get out of town, the more time you spend waiting. Sometimes it feels like you have to wait forever: It was worth it: We felt like we could lose ourselves in Paul Bunyon State Forest: Or on the trails in Itasca State Park: We even made a few friends along the way: Having so much fun was...

Heidi Van Heel

Heidi Van Heel

Writer, freelancer, and believer in magic living in Minneapolis. In my free time, I love reading, exploring the great outdoors, and experimenting in the kitchen.

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