Vogt's Notes: Embrace your inner Minnesotan and enjoy winter

Bundle up and get outside, no matter what the temperature and if only for awhile

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

I openly and honestly admit it - it’s March 2 and I’d love to be somewhere warm.

I crave the idea of wearing shorts, T-shirts and flip flops while soaking in the vibrant colors of bright blue water and lush green landscapes all under the sun’s cozy warmth.

I just sent a message to my daughter’s mother-in-law - who has been sending Snapchat photos of just that while she vacations in Florida - saying all Minnesotas deserve a warm-weather vacation this time of year.

Instead, I just spent seven nights and nearly seven days in a fish house on Lake of the Woods.

And I enjoyed every single Minnesota second of this trip, even when the temperature plummeted to more than 30 degrees below zero and our only three colors were the blue sky, yellow sunshine and stark white snow as far as the eye could see.


We lived for the week in a neighborhood of four fish houses on our private road only about 4 or so miles from shore. But the lake was filled with other hearty anglers in their fish houses.

Did we catch fish? Yes, we did.

Was that the most fun part of the week? Not necessarily.

What was fun was bundling up against the cold and the wind (oh, the wind!) and taking walks outside in the bright sunshine over the snow-covered ice with the sides of the plowed roads resembling ice bergs.

What was fun was scurrying from fish house to fish house visiting.

What was fun was braving the cold to pop outside at just the right time to capture on camera the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets over the snow.

February sunset on Lake of the Woods
The sun sets over Lake of the Woods on a cold Feb. 24, 2022.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

What was fun was pouring over and completing two puzzles with my niece and devouring a book while jigging a fishing line.

For anyone who remembers me writing about my personal goals for 2022, they included going ice fishing (check - we’ve been to Leech Lake four times and Lake of the Woods once), reading one book a month (check - I’ve read five books already!) and doing a few puzzles (check - I’ve completed four so far).


I realize those aren’t all outdoor activities, but they are relaxing activities that can be enjoyed during a long, snowy, frigidly cold Minnesota winter.

The point is - embrace winter. Get outside, even if it’s just for a short while.

It’s been cold - bitterly cold. But if you dress for it, you can do it.

There’s been no shortage of fun outdoor events in the area - from the Antique Snowmobile Rendezvous in Pequot Lakes, to the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Gull Lake, to Crosslake WinterFest and SoupFest, to the inaugural Bobber Bocce on Ice in Pequot Lakes, to the Nisswa Winter Jubilee, to last weekend’s Frozen Fore events around Gull Lake, the inaugural Nisswa 100 cross-country snowmobile race and the Ice Tee Open on Moonlite Bay in Crosslake.

All those events offer a great chance to get outside and enjoy winter in our area.

We heat our house with a wood stove so we’ve dressed in layers countless times to haul wheelbarrows full of wood to the house. One day I impulsively sprawled on the ground and created two snow angels - one for my dad and one for my mother-in-law on the anniversary of their deaths.

Nancy Vogt - Vogt's Notes.jpg
Nancy Vogt, PineandLakes Echo Journal Editor

Bundle up. Get outside. Take a quick walk. Make a quick snow angel.

You’ll be glad you did.


(And if you can - splurge and go somewhere warm for a week.)

Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Opinion by Nancy Vogt
Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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