Iowa; It’s Time To Take One Last Warm Weather Hike
Hiking is an easy way to center yourself. I should probably make more time to do it. It especially apparent to me during busy season which is officially under way in my house. Kids are back to school. I'm coaching 2 soccer teams and mowing/painting soccer fields when needed. Getting ready for middle school volleyball games in the next few weeks. And kids club at our local Cornerstone Church starts soon where I volunteer to teach and hang out with the kids of our community. All this bring me back to my first thought, it's time for just one more warm weather hike.
I have always felt spoiled growing up in Iowa. We have beautiful prairies covered. Bluffs and river valleys abound. We even have dense forests, "luxurious" beaches, and raging rivers. I think I've experienced them all and my thoughts rarely change. The state's well-maintained trails cater to all levels of hikers, providing opportunities for leisurely strolls and challenging adventures. Is there a better place to live than Iowa? I think not. Sure, we get the miserable cold of Iowa winters and the scorching heat (like we're just coming through) but for the most part Iowa provides the best of all worlds in sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. Experiencing the tranquility of unspoiled landscapes, encountering local wildlife, and relishing the sense of escape. It's all found within Iowa's hidden outdoor gems.
So, for one final time I trekked through my favorite areas and compiled some of my best shots. Sunsets. Sunflowers. Bugs. Berries. And an overall dose of Iowa Beauty. I hope you get the chance to visit these amazing Iowa areas one last time before fall leaves and winter snow set in.
These first shots come from Volga Lake. Beautiful area, but a few to many snakes for my liking.
And here is the bridge at Volga River State Recreation Area. Great place to try your hand at trout fishing.
The view from the bridge is beautiful too.
And what trip would be complete without some travel companions. Here are mine at Ebby's Mill in Jones County, Iowa. I've floated this stretch of river twice this year.
Ringneck Ridge was a nice discovery. It's a great place for pheasant hunting and berry picking. And the sunsets are killer.
And my always favorite area to explore is the close to home White Water Canyon bridging the areas of Dubuque, Jackson and Jones counties. Here's a view from the overlook. Can you see the deer drinking from White Water Creek.
It's also my favorite place to mushroom hunt and I usually find loads of golden oysters like these guys.
Have you ever seen White Baneberry; aka dolls eyes? The fruit is an attractive but poisonous, white berry.
What's not poisonous are these delicious black berries that are now growing in abundance all along the trail heading to the overlook at White Water Canyon. We have foraged enough berries here to make several jars of raspberry, blackberry, and gooseberry jam.
I'm unsure on the type of plant (below) this is. Let me just say I didn't eat them. And if you can't identify a plant, it's better to just avoid it all together.
Flowers and bees are found everywhere. Literally.
Some of the more annoying pests show up to. Here are the bright green Asian Beatles which devour loads of green leaves.
Family pictures here are easy with bright colored flowers everywhere.
And I mentioned luxurious beaches, right? Here's a shot from the Cedar Rapids area in Palisades-Kepler State Park.
So is Iowa the most beautiful state? Well, I'm biased; so, maybe asking me isn't your best bet. But how about this, why don't you take one more trek out to some of our best natural spots. Our top 5 can be found below and they're all worth the trip out.