Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Exploring Mounds and Stuff...

It has been far too long since I have been exploring and since I've seen Kenny. We decided to meet at Effigy Mounds National Monument near Marquette, IA for a day of hiking.
It had rained quite a bit the night before so Erik and I decided to leave Bosley at home . Don't worry, we were punished for this later. The drive up north was nice. Its always funny to see the landscape change from gently rolling hills and patches of trees, to completely flat and no trees, to high bluffs and lots of trees in just a hundred miles or so.
The plan was to meet at 9am to beat the heat. That WAS the plan. I had looked up the address of the park and carefully punched it into my Google map app on my phone only to end up in a field. This may be the only time my Google Maps has failed me. It literally took us into a town called McGregor, had us make a one block loop to send us back out of town the way we came in 6 miles. Then it wanted us to pull onto a gravel road that was really a glorified field entrance. It had been well over a decade since I had been to the park so maybe I wasn't remembering it correctly. Erik and I exchanged funny glances and decided what the hell. A couple hundred feet and around a bend and WHOA! The "road" was washed out and we were feet from being in the mighty Mississippi.
Ok, this is a remote section of Iowa, so the GPS has to be off. I rechecked the address and we tried again with the same result. I decided to just call the park and get directions. I very soft spoken, timid sounding woman answered, and when I asked how to get to the park from McGregor, she literally said "I wouldn't. Go get yourself a cup of coffee and wait an hour. We're having rain problems."
Umm...ok? The sky was blue. There was no rain. My phone lost reception at that point, so I couldn't ask for a clarification, and I was too taken aback to call again.
Thank goodness Kenny could give us directions, but we were now over a half hour late. As it turns out the rain from the night before did cause some problems. There was a small mudslide off on one side of the parking lot that they were trying to clean up.
We wandered around the welcome center and looked at Native American artifacts and the history of the park. There was even a movie about the mounds and the creation of the park, and yep, it was the same one I saw thirteen years ago. Awesomeness!

The trails were soft from the rain, but well enough maintained that it wasn't anything to worry about. We wound around the bluffs and in and out of animal shaped mounds. At ground level they are kind of hard to fully appreciate, but the forest we were in was beautiful! We ended up at a place call twin view point and we stopped for a bit. We were high up on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi munching on trail mix and laughing like idiots.
We made it back to the cars right as it started to drizzle, then we headed back south to McGregor (Erik and I had now driven through this little town 4 times) for lunch. You can't just eat light when you go to a pub, so a stroll was much needed after downing too much saucy meat and sweet potato fries. I saw a sign that said "Stuff" in front of what appeared to be an antique store. It made me laugh so I had to go in. Kenny said he bet it would smell really musty and wow was he right. It smelled as if the carpet had been continually wet for the 100 years it had been open.

There were many very interesting things and just as many very strange things.

To end the day, we drove a bit further south to Pikes Peak State Park for another amazing view of the river.

Sunday was one of those perfect days...

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