Community spirit a highlight of annual Hygge

By : 
Charlene Corson Selbee

Eight inches of fresh snow, temperatures in the 20s, and a Full Snow Moon set the stage for another successful Hygge. The annual event was held Feb. 9 on the Maple Sugar Trail, a one-mile hiking trail located east of Spring Grove.


What is Hygge?  Wikipedia defines the Norwegian word Hygge (Heu-gah) as a “mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality (the quality of being friendly and lively: friendliness) with feelings of wellness and contentment.” The friendly community atmosphere evident throughout Spring Grove is the feeling created at the annual Hygge event hosted each year by the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trails. 


In addition to snowshoeing and hiking, other evening activities included: sharing stories around the bonfire and enjoying a selection of food cooked over the fire including chocolate marshmallows rolled up in lefse and warmed up over the fire, smores, roasted hotdogs wrapped in lefsa accompanied by hot drinks including hot chocolate, hot coffee, and hot cider.


Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trails volunteer Saundra Solum estimated 46 to 50 people from Spring Grove and surrounding areas attended this year’s event. 


The first Hygge was held in January 2016 and again in 2017, 2019, and 2020. Since its inception, community members from surrounding communities, as well as visitors from the Twin Cities, have attended the winter event. In year one, the hiking trail was marked with glow sticks, and now snowshoers are encouraged to wear headlamps. The event is traditionally scheduled on a full moon evening to light the trail. Solum explained that after a few snowshoes have trampled through the woods on the trail, it is then suitable for hikers. 


If you were not able to attend this year’s Hygge, there is still time to get out on the trails and enjoy them this winter.  The trails are open year long, so make sure to schedule a time to hike the trails throughout the year. The group also hosts events on the trails throughout the year, including an annual Easter egg hunt. The Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trails connect 1-, 2-, or 3.5-mile loops. The trail winds its ways through farmland and a maple woods, oak savanna, passes by ponds, and over bridges.


The Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trails is a non-profit organization. The organization secured funding to build the trails from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation as well as financial gifts by private donors. As with any successful community initiative, volunteers donate countless hours to ensure the success of the project. The organization and an annual schedule of events are funded through free-will donations, and in recent years the group received a gift from the Spring Grove Lions Club and private donations. The grand opening of the trails was held on June 16, 2013. 


For more information on Spring Grove’s beautiful trail system and upcoming events, visit the group’s website, Become a Facebook friend at and an Instagram friend to view the stunning collection of photographs.


Create your own Hygge on the Norwegian Ridge Birding Nature Trails this year and make plans to attend Spring Grove’s 2021 Hygge.