Tag Archives: state parks

A First Day Hike in Siouxland, Stone State Park, Sioux City

6 Jan

A number of individuals showed up to participate in the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of people showed up this year at Stone State Park to hike on New Year’s Day in Siouxland to start their year enjoying nature and the outdoors, as well as a sunny, warmer winter’s day. Roughly a 2-3 mile hike over fairly good terrain the intrepid individuals make their way along a trail selected by a park manager.

Individuals hike down a trail participating in the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Footprints tell the story as a number of individuals participate in a First Day Hike outing at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With milder and warmer temperature than in recent days, the trails made easy walking except for a couple inclines that left a couple people rubbing their backsides dusting off snow after finding their feet touching air for a few moments because of slick surfaces. But it is a nice way to start the year and nice to find like minded folk. Talking to a couple others who hiked some said only 4-5 people participated  in last year’s hike because of minus zero temperatures that kept most folk indoors.

People begin making their way back to the start of the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Participants enjoy their walk during the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mid point for the hike was a small lake which I always enjoy. It changes its looks every season and it’s a place I have hiked to many times. Both by trail and by a road that ends near it.

Checking out Turtle Lake during the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Hitting the halfway point during the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Not one for making resolutions anymore, I do plan to get outdoors more often to local parks and walk. With shot knees my running days are over, but I still like to be outside hearing the birds or crickets or whatever creatures happen by and enjoy nature. And most times it’s not really getting time, but making time to enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

One last chat with the park manager after the First Day Hike outing in Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Adams Homestead in SD

9 Mar

Sometimes while out shooting I just enjoy looking at light. And depending on what it falls on creates something that might be worth photographing. One such outing in Siouxland was at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD. I like the Adams Homestead. There are hiking trails that take you to the Missouri River, through a stand of cottonwood trees that have been standing for almost a century and to the homestead itself. The Homestead area over time has taken on a more park-like atmosphere which is nice but lacks its earlier charm of rustic chaos which I enjoyed photographing. But there is barn there still standing that I always visit and have photographed countless times with the look changing through the seasons and time of day and with and without much sunshine. I sometimes wonder if this is how artist Claude Monet felt when he visited the Giverny garden in France. While there is no comparison between my photographs and his paintings, it the continual visitation to a place to look, see and maybe record something not seen and seen many times. A thing of beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Window shopping at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Sept. 2, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Window shopping at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Sept. 2, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dreaming of Blue Skies in Siouxland, Adams Preserve, SD

3 Mar

With the 10 inches of recent snowfall shoveled off my sidewalks and temperatures predicted for Siouxland to hit the 40’s it’s hard not to be dreaming of blue skies and warm sunshine to hit one’s face and make you smile. Spring is coming. I keep saying that maybe more to give me hope although this hasn’t been a bad winter. But recent days of 60 degree weather sure can spoil a person and wish for spring to come a little sooner.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fauna at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Sept. 2, 2016.       (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fauna at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Sept. 2, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring old canals in Illinois, Hennepin Canal

18 Oct

During a trip to Illinois to visit with relatives I stopped at the Hennepin Canal Parkway state park in  western Illinois. Much like the better know Erie Canal, this canal was built to help haul goods during the early pioneer days but wasn’t completed before competing enterprises were improved rendering the Hennepin Canal obsolete before officially opening. As a recreational area though it is very nice and worth a visit. Even better after talking with a young man who said he uses he kayak to traverse the waterway and enjoy the solitude and wildlife seen while making his way up or down the canal route.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland’s state parks, Gritchie Manitou State Preserve

12 Jun

This year I began trying to visit a number of state parks and preserves in or near the Siouxland region of northwest Iowa. One I visited earlier this spring is Gritchie Manitou State Preserve which has a nice wide walking trail as well as rock outcroppings, pools of water and a long disused stone lodge that was probably very nice in its day. In the last few years it came to my attention that the State of Iowa is not staffing some parks with personnel like it had in earlier, more monetarily flush periods of time. And that is sad because the outdoors is an inexpensive and nice way to spend a day seeing nature close up. I was impressed with the rock formations. This is what is written about the preserve on a site called the Americas State Parks: “Gitchie Manitou State Preserve is rich in geology, history, and archaeology and is known for its distinctive, smooth, pink outcroppings of Sioux Quartzite. The bedrock in the outcropping is 1.6 billion years old, and is the oldest surface bedrock anywhere in the state. The quartzite on the preserve was mined until the 1920s, and the quarry is now filled with water and knows as “Jasper Pool.” The preserve is home to archaeological sites including 17 conical mounds and numerous Woodland or Great Oasis habituation areas. Also evidence of local history is present on the preserve, with the county’s first post office and land office on the north side of the as part of a short lived settlement called Gibraltar in the 1880s. The building’s foundation can still be seen. There are more than 300 plant species on the preserve, with more than 130 growing on the prairie, like a range of prairie grasses such as leadplant and blue grama. Springtime welcomes wildflowers such as pasqueflower and hoary puccoon before summertime brings forbs like purple prairie clovers. The last flowers of the fall include aromatic aster and dotted gayfeather. Other plant communities thrive in the preserve’s woodlands, wetlands, grasslands and a narrow floodplain. Visitors to the preserve are allowed to hunt. Originally, the area containing Gitchie Manitou State Preseve was classified as a state park, but became a geological, archaeological, historical and biological state preserve in 1969.”

Tucked away in the very northwest corner of the state of Iowa, just across a river is South Dakota. A gentleman who lives in that area wrote a piece about places to hike in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, area, and he is right. It was a nice way to spend a day, even though it took a while to get there from Sioux City, and even though there really are not any signs to guide you there once you leave a main road that travels north. It was partly by chance, with the help of a county map, that I found the park.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux CIty, Iowa

 

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