Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Visiting Iowa, Part 2: A Week of Adventures

Time flies when you're having fun. Even in Iowa. ;) In our one week there, we managed to visit state parks all around our hometown and had two day trips - one to the Southeast corner, the second to the Northeast corner! I would have loved more time, but I'm glad we got to enjoy the whole week with everyone. Here are the pictures I have, combined with ones I stole from various sources. :)

Monday, May 26 - Letterboxing event in Sperry, IA. We took the day and went down with Curtis' parents. These pictures I stole from Atlas Quest because we were too busy boxing to take any. The event was a blast - we got something like 80 boxes the whole trip, along with a tour of Des Moines County!


The next day, we went for a hike at Lake McBride with some of my family. I got these pictures from mom's phone. :)

Above - with my siblings that joined us, below - with my parents!

Playing around the Lake McBride dam

On Thursday (the 30th) we took a road trip with some of our siblings up to Effigy Mounds National Monument and other spots along the way. Below is the "cityscape" of the great Ryan, IA. ;)

We stopped for a letterbox in Froelich, IA, and visited the home of the oldest/first gasoline tractor. We were a little disappointed that the actual tractor wasn't there, but instead you could see the ¾ scale model for the low price of $5 per person. Yeah, we passed on that.

Instead, we continued on our way to Effigy Mounds National Monument. We stopped by the Mississippi river to have a picnic before beginning our hike.

My brother in a tree within seconds of getting out of the car. :)

Family, enjoying the picnic!

Below: The Mississippi, and Wisconsin!

We set off on a 4 mile hike to see the Marching Bear mounds. It was in the 80's and humid, but tolerable. Curtis and I agreed that hiking 4 miles in Iowa is "shorter" than hiking 4 in AZ.

Below, nature part 1: Curtis found a geode

Nature, part 2 - bird nest!

Nature, part 3: feather!

Finally, we reached the mounds. It's hard to see in pictures, but basically the lines in the grass that are raised are the "mounds". We questioned the legitimacy of how precise they were - I mean, anyone could mow the grass and let big spots grow and call it a mound, right?!

Curtis climbed up a tree for some overhead shots:

Walking back!

Stopped by a scenic view of a lake

After finishing this hike, we drove South a bit to Pike's Peak State Park. Below is the pink elephant of Marquette, IA

At Pike's Peak SP, we started at the overlook of the Mississippi and Wisconsin.

"Everything the light touches is my kingdom!"

Attempts for a group picture of our siblings:

Good enough. :)

Above: see the tiny train passing through?

After this, we went on a 2 mile hike to find a box. The gnats were pretty bad, which led to siblings discovering many different ways of avoiding them:

They're great. :)

After successfully finding the box, we went on our way, & saw a waterfall on the way back!

We began driving home, passing by Strawberry Point, home of the biggest statue of a strawberry. We stopped one last time at Backbone State Park and checked out this cave!

Then took a stroll on a very steep trail that went up alongside the cave and ended up on top of it!

After all this, we took everyone out for dinner as a thank you for putting up with our crazy love for exploring everything. :)

The next day, we went to Palisades-Kepler State Park with some of my family for another short hike.

Group shot!

It was a wonderful week at home, and we're so thankful for the opportunity to go back. We are thankful that they still welcome us back and take time out of their schedules to go places with us. Now we have to work on getting them to come down and see us so we can show them how awesome our new home is before we have to move again! :)

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