Carlos Avery Wildfire

It must, I thought as I viewed it, be the outcome of a fire; but why had nothing new ever grown over these five acres of grey desolation that sprawled open to the sky like a great spot eaten by acid in the woods and fields?

- H.P. Lovecraft, The Colour Out of Space

We recently visited Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area again, since the roads going through it just recently reopened. This is also the start of fire season in Minnesota, especially since we have not had much rain this Spring. We don’t have wildfires all the time or as large as places out West, but up in northern Minnesota, where there are vast areas of wilderness, they can get big. Just around the cities, we could look to the horizon and see 3 different small plumes of smoke at once. So, driving around Carlos Avery, it wasn’t too surprising to find some blackened ground.

Carlos Avery Charred Panoramic

Still experimenting with panoramas. I think sometimes they can be annoying to view, but they are fun to take, and look good pulled up larger.

To make it even weirder, there was a big flock of Sandhill Cranes out in the charred bushes for some reason.

Carlos Avery Charred

I wonder if the burning released or exposed some seeds in the soil they would eat? I recorded a video too, which I debated posting because of the distracting flecks on the lens that the sunlight is hitting, but decided to anyway. I will just have to remember to clean the lens off next time.

It was surreal how it almost seemed black and white. It reminded me of the blasted heath featured in the short story A Colour Out of Space. I think it would make an interesting photograph if you found somewhere that was all Birch or Aspen trees, and that a wildfire recently went through. Then you would just have the black ground and underbrush and the white tree bark.

We spent some time in Carlos Avery last year too, I talked about that in this post: Visiting Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area. Thanks for reading!

Spring Destinations and Activities in Minnesota

Well, the weather is getting warmer around the Twin Cities. We are looking at a week or so of temperatures around 60 degrees. If it doesn’t get cold again, Spring is right around the corner, so I grabbed a few destinations and activities for springtime. I would love to hear more recommendations in the comments. Most outdoor activities are great in springtime because it is nice to be outside in the warmer weather, and see everything start to grow again, but I don’t know a lot about specific places. I will update the post as I find more things and get recommendations too.


The Munsinger and Clemens Botanical Gardens in St. Cloud

These two adjacent botanical gardens in St. Cloud are well-known for their beauty. They will open up in Spring, and their website says they are especially good in late Spring.

While you are there, you could make a day of it, and visit Quarry Park and the Stearns History Museum.


Spring is a great time to get out into the countryside and do some stargazing. Jupiter can be found in the East, and you can easily see its moons through binoculars or possibly some details of the atmosphere with a telescope. Setting in the West is Venus and Mars. The Orion Nebula is easy to find in Orion to the South, and if you are somewhere dark enough, you might be able to see the Milky Way stretching from South to North.

Later in the night, Saturn will be rising in the South, and on March 12th the Moon and Saturn will pass close to each other in the sky. Here is a calendar that talks more about the events coming up for March. Just change the month at the top to see the other Spring months.

Spring is so good because you can see some of the interesting objects that are convenient in Winter, like Jupiter, Mars, and Orion, but it isn’t cold and hard to enjoy yourself.


Spring is the perfect time to look for most wildflowers. Barring unusual circumstances, there probably won’t be many blooming in March, but there should be plenty in April and May. Here is a list of some of the wildflowers that bloom in April. In my experience, Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is one of the best places for plants and wildflowers. I wrote about a visit there in late May last year: Nerstrand Big Woods, May 26th


Again, if anyone has some other ideas for activities or places to visit in Spring, I would appreciate it if you let me know in the comments! I will update the main post as I get more recommendations. Hopefully, we can get some good ideas in here. Thanks!