No One Likes Iowa After Colorado

As someone who feels compelled to move every 4 months and travel every few weeks, it’s difficult to call anywhere home. EXCEPT my parents’ house, where I always seem to end up at before my next grand adventure. The saying “Home is where the heart is” rings true. My heart floats with the wind and I go chasing it across the continent, but it always finds its way home. Currently I’m in Iowa, and if you have followed my blog since the beginning, you’d know my heart is not in Iowa. There doesn’t seem to be much here, actually.

This morning I left the Rocky Mountains. There was a beautiful sunrise, draping the mountain tops in pink. I skipped writing a post yesterday to spend more time relaxing in the outdoors. The mountain air was incredible to breathe in, and I felt like I was flushing out all the toxins of living in the LA city air with each exhale. Yesterday morning I was planning on doing a 12 mile round trip hike to a high elevation pond. After about a half mile of trekking through the snow and gaining elevation, I began to feel sick. To get to this part of the park you have to go a few thousand feet above the elevation elsewhere, so adding another 1000 feet of elevation change in a half hour is a lot. I have gotten headaches after my first night sleeping somewhere with a high elevation, but have never gotten sick during an elevation change. As I was hiking up the snowy trail, my head and neck started hurting and I got dizzy quickly. I tried to fight through it for a bit, but concluded that this hike wasn’t for me. It wasn’t fun anyways, since it was cold and icy. Plus the pond I was going to would probably be frozen and nothing much to look at. I stopped at a waterfall many people were specifically hiking to see. It was an 8 inch hole with a teeny bit of water coming out. Okay, time to find another place to hike.

I went to the nearby Sprague Lake, a very easy and scenic 1 mile hike. This lake was only partially frozen, and had geese and ducks calling it home. Next I drove to a meadow, hiking a few miles alongside a small stream. Eventually I realized I was on the elk trail (big surprise!) and made my way over to the human trail. On the way I found a mud pit where a herd must’ve recently been. I admired how large and deep their hoof prints were. Next I drove to a different trailhead, and explored the mountain base off the trail. I intentionally followed a deer/elk trail, looking at where they slept, ate, drank, and pooped. After exploring a bit, I decided to go back to town and walk around Lake Estes. The Rockies were a joy to explore, but I would definitely enjoy them more when the snow is mostly gone. As I was leaving, storm clouds rolled in and I could see snow up in the mountains. While I was walking around Lake Estes in Estes Park, the wind started howling, blowing the clouds my way. Instead of doing the 3.8 mile hike around the entire thing I did 2.5, turning around when the wind became menacing. All in all, I ended up doing 10 miles for the day.

Today I hit the road early, ending in Council Bluffs, IA. The drive across Nebraska went surprisingly quick, although the drive home seems to always fly by after vacation. I’m dreading the boring drive through Iowa and Southern/Central Minnesota tomorrow, as I’ve seen enough open plains and farm fields for a lifetime. Someday I’ll explore Iowa and find a love for it. Someday. My next blog post will be from home sweet home, in Up North Wisconsin.


2 thoughts on “No One Likes Iowa After Colorado

  1. There isn’t much to like in Iowa (Effigy Mounds…maybe?) but Nebraska has some pretty cool stuff, especially up on the Pine Ridge around Chadron. Pretty classic western landscape, if you ask me (which no one is, of course). Anyway, came across your post via the hiking tag and I thought a word of encouragement was in order. Your desire to be out west is evident in your post (something I experienced during a four year gradschool exile in Texas) and then you noted you were heading back to northern Wisconsin. It reminded me of Aldo Leopold and how he spent so much time out west, yet it was upon his return to Sauk County in Wisconsin that he wrote “A Sand County Almanac”. I imagine the adversity of yearning for the wilderness can exert powerful creative and contemplative influence on someone. Anyway, stick with it and good luck!


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