Tag Archives: outdoors

A Day in Siouxland, Adams Homestead, North Sioux City, SD

24 Feb
A cross country skier get some exercise on a brisk day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, February 3, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some winter days in Siouxland people just want to get out, especially on those days when the sun is shining and the temps are above zero. The last few days with temperatures reaching -40 overnight with windchill, the thought of leaving a warm house gives one chills before even feeling that cold gust on the face when the front door opens.

Some local gees wing their way to another destination flying over the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, February 3, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even the local animal population wants to get around a bit, maybe finding another feeding spot while trying to survive this particular winter. At Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve the place has nicely groomed trails year round, even in winter that hikers, skiers and snow shoe walkers enjoy. And sometimes just getting out to feel some fresh air without the thought of frostbite setting in within minutes can be motivational itself.

Even the heartiest of creatures learn to conserve their energy during these cold days and extremes in weather, all hoping for spring to arrive, sooner than later.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two bison in a feedlot situated next to the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, February 3, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for the Christmas Star in Siouxland, Murray Hill Scenic Overlook

5 Jan
People patiently wait on a hilltop at the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa as the sun sets during the Winter Solstice Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This Christmas an astrological event took place that those in the know said had not occurred since 1200 AD, when the planets Saturn and Jupiter came within spitting distance of one another to create what folk called the Christmas Star. Some also postulate that this is the phenomena that took place when the Three Wise Men went searching for Jesus during his birth.

Like many others, I went in search of seeing the Christmas Star and also to enjoy the Winter Solstice which also occurred that same evening, Dec. 21.

The sun sets during the Winter Solstice seen from the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A jet trail lights the sky reflecting the setting sun as people wait on a hilltop at the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa during the Winter Solstice Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I believed I saw the glimmer of light reflecting off of the planets that evening along with some others, although I did not have the means to photograph the occurrence itself. Still it was exciting, and the sky also provided a nice light show as the sun set with just a few clouds. I had driven a ways to a place I knew which would have an unobstructed view but didn’t stay until after dark as the trail leading to this hilltop is difficult enough to traverse during daylight hours. A friend later that evening sent me a photo he had taken of the two planets, from his backyard after also being somewhat unsuccessful in photographing the planets earlier. One just never knows when one will get lucky.

But so many centuries ago everyone got lucky with the birth of Christ, I so wish though that people would think about that luck before they act and behave in a manner that on its face seems so heinous. And as many mothers would tell their sons and daughter, “You really know better!”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People patiently wait on a hilltop at the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa as the sun sets during the Winter Solstice Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The sun sets during the Winter Solstice seen from the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The Little Sioux River reflects the setting sun’s light during the Winter Solstice seen from the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook in rural Harrison County near Little Sioux, Iowa Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. People came out in hopes of seeing the Christmas Star, the alignment of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Walk in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

23 Sep

Shady trail lanes are a welcome respite on a hot day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always nice to get and enjoy the day with sunshine and fresh air in Siouxland. Although lately with western wildfire smoke and haze the air quality has suffered a bit even in Iowa. I can not begin to imagine what it is like on the west coast in those states. Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is always a nice place to take a walk, giving one a choice of trails, long or short, sunny, shady or a mixture of both. I walked a trail I haven’t been on for a number of years and noticed how it was built out a bit and gave some side trail choices to explore more of the park as well as seeing restoration underway at the Preserve.

Signage helps visitors understand the mission at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The side trail I ventured onto took one into a meadow area and with a little patience, more than I had that particular day, one could find numerous critters traversing the area early morning or late afternoon, early evening as they foraged and meandered themselves around the park.

Signage informs visitors at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A summer’s day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Prairie restoration in action at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So it was nice to find some added benches along the way for those of us who wanted a break from enjoying all that fresh air and walking. Too much of a good thing? Maybe.

Shady benches are always a welcome sight after a bit of walking on a hot day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular trail runs along the Missouri River at a couple of points and gives a visitor a chance to check it out as well. I found it nice that along the trail signs of wildlife were about, leaving hints. And also running into some other “hikers” who themselves were out enjoying the day and passing through the preserve.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Souvenirs await for visitors walking a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Deer wander across the trail at a distance at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

On a quiet and cooler summer’s day a young deer approaches a visitor in its neck of the woods along a walking path at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeking Shelter in Siouxland, Snyder’s Bend Park, Salix

19 Sep

A woodchuck looks around hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When one senses danger or even that something is amiss, it’s only natural to seek shelter. Even creatures in Siouxland are wary of man’s attempt to intervene in nature. While on a recent outing at Snyder’s Bend Park a parks department crew showed up to do some work, and this poor little woodchuck seemed a little besides himself trying to figure out if he was in danger and why were on these people hanging out in his neighborhood this particular day.

A woodchuck takes off after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A woodchuck runs for cover after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A woodchuck runs for cover after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In most cases it is good to heed one’s instinct and behave cautiously rather than proceed as if nothing unusual is occurring. I believe that is the premise of many a teen horror movie that has been used numerous times all leading to the same conclusion. This little guy scampered away as fast as it could and appeared safe as far as I could tell. Until the next time it ventures probably hoping not to hear another backhoe for a while as it looks for a morning snack.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

A woodchuck heads off to a safer place after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nature’s Calligraphers in Siouxland, Snyder’s Bend, Salix

7 Sep

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I often times am awed by nature’s shows that take place in Siouxland and I can witness such feats of aerobatics and and “sky writing” done by birds.

This summer while visiting with a friend at Snyder’s Bend park we saw a large flock of pelicans performing synchronized flying near the park and it struck me as a form of calligraphy being written in the sky by these airborne creatures.

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What on the ground look like large unbalanced creatures created imagery in the sky that was fun to watch. I had never witnessed pelicans behaving in this manner before, mostly just images of these birds on the ground feeding. And seeing them fly in formation was truly amazing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying the Outdoors in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve

26 Aug

People enjoy a day out through various ways at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the hot days of summer linger and the heat and humidity once again ratchets up people still make some time to get out and enjoy the outdoors in Siouxland. One activity to get a little exercise and still feel safe in a large environment because of the virus. Mornings are generally best before the heat sinks in and each footstep feels a little heavier when the heavy air really hits one.

Signage added to trails help visitors understand more about Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Trails beckon at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a few different paths to take although most runners and bicycle enthusiasts stick to the gravel path. Although on more than one occasion I was almost hit as the bikes glide silently up on you and no one rings a bell or calls out until it’s almost too late. Call me grumpy, but courtesy in avoiding a disaster doesn’t seem too much to ask.

People maintain distance while exercising at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Just a nice day to take a walk in nature at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s nice to see some animal friends as well and also to make new ones while out walking. But the latter while curious, are still cautious and young enough to encounter a friendly person who bores them no harm, just delighted to see them out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

One of the donkeys that resides at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Curious young deer check out a visitor in their neck of the woods at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Soaring in Siouxland, Snyder Bend Park

24 Aug

 

A raptor soars above the earth at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days are just fine days, even in Siouxland, with a blue sky and sunshine, although the recent heat and humidity has made them a little less enjoyable. But then I look up and see a raptor or some bird soaring above enjoying the thermals and just taking in the sights. I pause, and realize I need to do the same, minus the soaring, but take in the sights and enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Riding the thermals at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a Day Out in Siouxland, Snyder’s Bend Park, Woodbury County

16 Aug

Enjoying a walk with a friend at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) 

It’s always nice to get out and enjoy fresh air and a little exercise in Siouxland, and summertime is perfect for that. The outdoors can offer difference experiences to those who pursue them. No matter the age.

Making a catch at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) 

And enjoying oneself should not only be relegated to humans. Four legged friends also should enjoy themselves and then sharing that experience after the fact.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a dip in the water at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sharing with friends after a little dip at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sharing with friends after a little dip at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (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©)

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