Tag Archives: Hitchcock Nature Center

A Quiet Day in Siouxland Outdoors, Hitchcock Nature Center

5 Apr
A cool January day at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Pottawattamie County. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There were a few days during the winter months in Siouxland that were nice enough, that is warmer, to get out and enjoy the sunshine and not freeze any extremities or other body parts off and still enjoy the day. Hitchcock Nature Center is always one such place to visit, even if it’s not an ideal time of year.

A cool January day at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Pottawattamie County. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A cool January day at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Pottawattamie County. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The park as expected was still brown tones and no leaves on the trees, but the sparseness and sunlight helped create possible images. Still, during what seemed like a forever, never ending winter in January with February still to come, it was nice to be able to spend some time outdoors, enjoying what nature there was making one look forward to spring in the hopefully not to distant future.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The boardwalk can be seen from the center’s watch tower on a cool January day at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Pottawattamie County. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lining Up in Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek

30 Mar
Light and shade at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Pottawattamie County. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am looking for the return of sunshine in Siouxland, lasting more than a day or so, as spring gets closer and temperatures rise to the 40’s and 50’s. The sunshine makes it ever so easy to create B&W images of shapes, angles and lines. Plus it makes it ever so nice to look out one’s window, even on colder days, and imagine the warm sunshine. Patience, the virtue that takes practice to acquire.

I find it fun to photograph geometric patterns, getting lost in the design or lack there of, and leaving it to one’s imagination what is seen. The possibilities are endless as are subjects. And roaming the Siouxland area once again is an anticipated delight.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shade at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Pottawattamie County. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Peeking Outside in Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center

27 May

The downtown area of the city of Omaha, NE can seen from an observation desk at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy visiting the Hitchcock Nature Center in southern Siouxland, especially its tower next to the nature center. The view allows one to see downtown Omaha, NE across the Missouri River and other areas as well. Normally during midweek there is not a lot of people. This particular day was in February of this year as the COVID-19 situation was beginning to ramp up and the weather was warmish for a February day.

People hike along a trail at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it is just nice to go outdoors and being there.  No agenda, no excessive hiking, just observing and enjoying the moment, photographically speaking anyway. As the weather finally begins to warm up even though it is already May, I look forward to some more outdoor forays and just spending time in the fresh air and sunlight, and hopefully sunshine.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Smoke rises from might be a controlled burn near the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center

7 May

Light and shade pattern created by the sun on a deck at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out in Siouxland these days and weeks and probably months is a challenge to see creatively and differently. Previously not as many people ventured out and it then becomes a chance for a photographer to see what images might come to mind while wandering about. As the days get warmer and countryside greener that will be a big help. Backroads to get lost on and Loess Hills to drive about in.

But for the interim I still like playing with light and shadow. Sunny days are helpful and am looking forward to a few more of those as spring warms up.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and Shade pattern created by the sun on a deck at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Some Me Time in Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center

21 Apr

A chipmunk sits on a cinder block wall trying to stay warm on a cold spring day at Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes a little me time is a good thing. A chance to reflect on life and stop and smell whatever aromas are occurring around one. Even in Siouxland critters as well as people need time to catch a breath and view the sites and take a moment.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying the Outdoors in Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center

7 May

Hiking a trail at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I do enjoy a good walk in nature in and around the Siouxland region. I have only spent a few times visiting the Hitchcock Nature Center but enjoy it immensely each time I go. Recently on a very pleasant spring day I went hiking with some friends and enjoyed a warm day, blossoming trees (well greening anyway) and views that always impress.

A trail leads out into the forest at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A rest area along the boardwalk trail looks out over a scenic view at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The nature or interpretive center at the park has lots of information and the folk manning the facility are always friendly and willing to offer suggestions. Views of the emergence of spring and warmer weather while standing on a watch tower near the interpretive center makes finding views accessible.

The lodge and interpretive center at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A watch tower and viewer stand next to the lodge and interpretive center at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A well worn trail at right leading out into the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A trail leads out into the forest at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On this trip I talked with a woman and told her I was surprised that I could still see flood water in the distance where it should be dry with farmers getting into fields readying to plant. Sections of an interstate highway that runs through there is still closed because of spring flooding and a confluence of events with an early rain, still frozen ground and snow on the ground  too that created conditions where water inundated farm land and some smaller communities causing evacuations. Views of the emergence of spring and warmer weather while standing on a watch tower near the interpretive center makes finding views accessible.

Flood water can still be seen in the distance that inundated small communities and flood water that caused some evacuations in early spring from the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And I find that sweet about revisiting places I seen previously because it is never the same, for good or bad. Changes take place, nature or man can affect what one might encounter at a later time and therein lies the interest that feeds my curiosity besides just enjoying a nice day out, fresh air and hanging out with friends.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Taking a break from walking at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Photographing a vista of the surrounding landscape at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Hillsides are just starting to green up near the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

One last Communion with Fall near Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center

4 Nov

I’ve only visited Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County just south of Siouxland once before. But it’s a very nice park of just over 1,200 acres situated in the Loess Hills of western Iowa.

A view of the surrounding countryside from a tower at the lodge atHitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The lodge and lookout tower sits on a hill for excellent views at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie COunty near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It has a number of trails and a lodge that sits atop a hill and looks out over the surrounding area. There is also a watch tower at the lodge we allows birders to track the various migration periods when the birds are heading either north or south, depending on the season. The one aspect of the park I like is the elevated board walk which allows some accessibility to those with wheelchairs or walkers to “get into the woods” for a quarter mile or so with stops along the way and picnic tables for those who pack a lunch or want to stay a bit and enjoy the quietude and nature.

Part of an elevated board walk trail at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An elevated nature trail at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s just a nice way to spend part of a day putting aside the daily rush of events and happenings and imagining what the area must have looked like to explorers and first settlers when the prairie grass still covered a large portion of land before farming began. And it’s nice to know they are concerned enough citizens who have the foresight to set aside parcels of land for others to enjoy and for future generations as well as themselves. A place to reset one’s thoughts and take a pause in life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A valley and farmsteads below a hilltop at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sunshine after a number of days of rainy fall weather made leaves almost sparkle at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A view from an elevated board walk trail at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Getting into Nature in Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center

5 Jan

I traveled to a nature center last fall that I had not visited previously in or near Siouxland, The Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County.

A nature walk for the ambulatory and nonambulatory at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An observatory above the lodge gives a great view of the surrounding area at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is a very nice board walking trail that is easily accessible for everyone. And it’s shaded which is even nicer on those hot Iowan days, be it summer or later. At a lodge there is a watch tower where anyone, but especially birders, can enjoy seeing above the treetops which allows folk to look for their favorite flying species, except maybe for Flying Monkeys. Dorothy wasn’t there the day I visited.

A shaded nature walk for the ambulatory and nonambulatory at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An observatory above the lodge gives a great view of the surrounding area at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The center makes a nice day out. It is not that far north of Council Bluffs where one can explore a variety of eateries and sights as well and make a day of it. Once the weather warms a bit I would like to venture there again and spend a little more time hiking just to enjoy nature and a little fresh air. Spring is a way off, but that gives plenty of time to plan.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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