Tag Archives: stone state park

Lingering Winter in Siouxland, Stone State Park

6 Apr

Winter is hanging out much too long this year in Siouxland. And it’s not only in Siouxland, but sometimes being selfish, I only care that it is lingering too long here. There have been brief moments of sunshine, and actual sun shining, but those seem to be few. Recently there was another snow fall. And the sky is grey and hazy.

I began looking at images as black and white, trying to see the possibility of grey tones.

Walking on a cold grey day at Stone State Parkin Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 1, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent hike before the snow in Stone State Park the browns and greys of this past winter still loomed large and didn’t create any excitement on my part. And with hazy, grey and overcast skies it’s sometimes hard to create images that have any kind of spark to them.

Walking on a cold grey day at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 1, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it was nice to get out of the house, go for a walk and breath some fresh air without the intake freezing one’s lungs, or walking, again, through snow drifts. I like winter, being outside and enjoying what it offers, but it’s time to move on, climb new hills and see what a reawakening or rebirth can is in the offering from spring. I just hope it shows up before summer is here, maybe in June.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Walking during a grey cold day at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, April 1, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter Wonderland in Siouxland, Stone State Park

27 Jan

Siouxland has yet to get hit by a big snowstorm although the area has been threatened with such the last few weeks. But inevitably it will happen. But recently the area had a light dusting of snow, enough to give some shape and form and contrast plus fairly mild temperatures in the 30’s which is always pleasant to photograph in, especially when hiking in Stone State Park.

Walking through fresh snow at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Tree sentries scattered throughout at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And it was nice to see I was not the only intrepid individual out to enjoy the day.

Tracks in the snow of another hiker at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Stone State Park has a lot to offer any time of year, but in winter it becomes a bit more navigable if there is a good amount of snow on the ground which makes it easier to bushwhack through the park, although with a light snow fall trails were just slick enough to enable sliding down them a bit tricky. But the quiet, fresh air and stark landscape make it an escape from the daily routine and the other noise that occurs all too often.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Snowfall, Stone State Park

19 Mar

I went for a hike recently in Siouxland’s Stone State Park in Sioux City. There was fresh snow from a recent and hopefully last snow storm of the season. Although there are times when a blizzard hits the area in April. I walked down a roadway leading to a couple trails and a small pond. No person had yet walked the roadway, and only one person had been on the trail that I could see. The only other sign of life were deer tracks, and some bunny tracks. It was quiet. It was fresh and it was just very nice. And maybe I thought that since, again, I am hoping it’s the last snow shower. As I get older, I enjoy the type or precipitation that I don’t have to shovel.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Shorts Hikes in Siouxland, Stone State Park

25 Jan

I like getting out in the winter time to enjoy the outdoors. Some days the wind though increases that chill factor and makes even a well-intentioned hike or walk a non-starter or an abbreviated attempt. I took to the trails of Stone State Park recently and lasted about 30 minutes before the wind and cold forced me to make a retreat.

I like hiking in the winter months because the surrounding areas are open and easier to see more of and explore if one desires. But on cold days, even that look of sunshine can’t hide the fact that its cold.

Snow and the normal winter chill is fine by me, but when the temps dip into single digits and the wind brings it down even further to zero or possibly that minus range, then thoughts of coffee and a comfy chair and book begin to take shape.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Starting the New Year off on the right foot in Siouxland, Stone State Park

5 Jan

The Friends of Stone State Park co-hosted a 1st Day Hike Jan. 1 with the local park ranger Kevin Pape who explained that this event was not only happening state-wide, but nationally as well as parks across the country were trying to entire people outside and introducing them to their local state park in their particular area. It was an easy hike that approximately 30-35 people took advantage of with the temperature hovering around single digits to the teens.

Area residents pose for a photograph before setting off on a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Area residents pose for a photograph before setting off on a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Keepsakes for area residents who came out out for a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Keepsakes for area residents who came out out for a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dressed appropriately and moving, the temperature was not much of a concern. Park Ranger Pape also talked about the history of Stone State Park as we traversed a small section of it. Originally land owned by a Daniel Talbot, an early settler of the Sioux City area. Talbot purchased a lot of land but during the late 1890’s with bank failings, eventually lost the land to Thomas Stone, a local banker that personally guaranteed a loan to Talbot and later foreclosed on the land as Talbot was not able to pay. Ranger Pape explains that Stone’s children later donated the land Stone obtained to the City of Sioux City which then created a park area. Later on the city ceded the park to the State of Iowa and Stone State Park was created.

Some of the stone structures in areas of the park were formerly built by the city to house a local zoo. While trying to find more cursory information about the Civilian Conservation Corp that purportedly did work in Stone State Park in the 30’s I could only find reference to other state parks through the state’s Dept. of Natural Resources website.

Besides the historical footnote mentioned above, Stone State Park currently offers a lot of opportunity to get away from urban living even though it is situated on the outskirts of Sioux City. City sounds drift away, except for occasional traffic driving through.

Having hiked through several parts of the park over the years, it is a place to forget about current events and enjoy the moment and whatever nature provides that day. On a good day with good weather, one can see a variety of birds, deer and other creatures. Once while out with some Loess Hills Audubon people doing a December bird count I even saw a coyote on a hillside early that morning.

It’s good to unplug and tune into nature, maybe next year there will be enough people for two sets of hikes on a first day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Finding Our Feathered Friends in Siouxland, Stone State Park

28 Dec

Recently the Loess Hills chapter of the Audubon Society held its Christmas bird count in the area, and sponsored a number of others throughout Siouxland as enthusiasts try to spot as many species as possible while out looking on one particular day.

I met four such enthusiasts and hung out for a short bit at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa. I met others during a lunch break at a local restaurant and among greetings between the folk the one thing that struck me was that each asked the other, “How many species did you see today?” , followed by if they had seen any unusual birds that should have already flown the coop for warmer climes. One couple who have been married for 58 years have spent most of their time when possible pursuing bird watching, enjoying getting out into nature and watching these incredible neighbors of ours.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Winter inching closer to Siouxland, Stone State Park

11 Dec

Winter is inching ever closer to Siouxland. Snow is expected imminently following the cold that is here already. But before the snowflakes fall, I took one last walk in late fall at Stone State Park here in Sioux City, Iowa. It covers a number of acres and in early spring and very late fall, I find it more fun to visit because there are no leaves on the trees and one is able to see more of the terrain and even hike to places that previously had lots of underbrush. This is more true after a good fresh snowfall. With a pair of snow shoes on, a person can hike over hill and dale walking everywhere simply because the snow covers so much and it makes it easier. I look forward to that later, if the area gets a good snowfall. The double-edged sword in that wish is the scooping that comes before the playing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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