Togetherness at Minnehaha Falls
There is something special about a plan to wake up at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning to explore a frozen waterfall in sub-zero temperatures before anyone else gets there. That's what we did on a bright, cold day in February.
One guy did beat us there, but I have a feeling he deserved to be the first one to arrive. He gazed at the ice while eating a banana from his backpack. He ignored us fully and I was okay with that.
The best part of this experience was the genuine, but short-lived, bond between strangers. We laughed with people much different from us, cheered each other on, and pointed out where to put the next foot.
Of course, the stakes were really low; if you didn't make it up the slope, you could just go home and drink hot chocolate. You still got to be at the falls, view the stunning blue ice, soak up the chilly rays of sun. But if you made it to the top, you felt like a casual winner. You got thumbs up from strangers.
This couple climbed up around the same time as us. He made it up before her. As she tried to follow, she slipped down the slope again and again.
We all kept laughing because, as an adult, it's not everyday that you are willing to throw away your dignity on a slope of ice in front of people you've never met. After her third or fourth attempt, she sat on her bum and said, "You guys, I'm in Uggs. It wasn't meant to be! It's okay, you just go."
We said, no way! You can do it!
Her gumption suddenly came alive and she turned into a crab. She crab-legged all the way up the slope in the matter of 10 seconds!
By the time we left, many more people had come. Their climbing experience was similar to ours: hands out to the sides for balance, slipping, laughing, and taking pictures.
Best of all, everyone was so nice to one another. There was a sense of togetherness.