What a difference a couple of days makes. Saturday’s temperatures hit 32, some 50 degrees warmer than it had been just two or three days earlier in northern Minnesota. And people who love the outdoors wasted no time in taking advantage of it. I was at Gooseberry Falls State park between Two Harbors and Silver Bay on Saturday afternoon, and the place was crawling with people. Snowshoers hoofed along the river trail. Cross-country skiers came gliding down from the trails above the highway. Ice climbers ascended the Lower Falls using ice axes and crampons while water flowed over the falls behind the ice. Other folks just hiked about, kids in tow, little people in backpacks.
      Closer to home, snow machines cruised club trails that connected to trails outside the city. Ice anglers cast for trout and salmon at  the mouth of the French River and dangled bait under the ice at the McQuade public landing.
      Dog walkers rejoiced. Runners splashed through water draining in the streets. A couple with a small child hiked the snowpacked Superior Hiking Trail between Vermilion Road and Jean Duluth Road. I didn’t see any bicyclists out and about, but my wife saw a couple. And I saw a bicycle track on an neighborhood snowmobile trail.
      The sun was packing some wallop, and the sky was saturated with blue. We can handle the cold here. We can deal with 15 and 20 and 30 below. But I’ll tell you something. Saturday was nice.