Tag Archives: trails

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©)

Siouxland’s geocaching adventure at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, Sioux City

24 Nov

Resource naturalist Jim Henning of the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center presented a geocaching program recently as a way to get children interested in the outdoors through the use of hi-tech gear. Henning said so many kids these days have their face in front of a screen, weather it is a monitor, TV or smart phone, that he hopes if he can pique their curiosity he can get them outside experiencing nature as well as utilizing 21st century technology.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Fall Sights in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

14 Oct

When Fall comes around, I like to visit some familiar haunts in Siouxland just because they are beautiful places and relaxing to hang out at. One of those places is the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. It was a family homestead begun in the 1800’s. A sign posted at this South Dakota park states: “For over 100 years, three generations of Stephen Searls James Adams worked, nurtured and respected this land. It is the wish of Maud and Mary Adams to share this natural bounty will all people. Their generous donation of land for this nature area is a fitting memorial to the Adams family. In their words it is a ‘Place for admiration of the earth….A place for inner renewal'”. Maud and Mary Adams were the last descendants of the Adams family. There are different trails that link together of various lengths that people can follow, one of which takes them along the Missouri River for a time. I find it fun to photograph at the Preserve in the Fall because of the color and the quality of light one gets this time of year. The playing shadows on the barn wall, the surround stillness except for birds and another occasional hiker. The park is used throughout the years. Walking, biking and running during the Fall, Spring and Summer months, and groomed trails for cross country skiers in the winter. With enough snow, one can wear snow shoes to traverse the area, which is what I do. So the day I visited I played with the light, and photographed the area to show off its beauty. Sometimes photographing one thing leads to another. I got low on the ground to photograph the leaves and the tree shadow in the foreground, and when I looked up, saw the juxtaposition of the tree on the left and the top of the barn for an inverted look, something I had never explored before and it was fun. And on some of the scenes I put a polarizer filter on my lens to enhance the colors and darken the sky. At times I will employ techniques that I know will enhance my photographs. I will admit that technically I don’t always understand why it works, it just does. But then again, I don’t stay away at night trying to figure out how my truck operates other than starting it and keeping it maintained. The same is true for my photography. For my many years in journalism, I would sparingly use a polarizer and other “techniques” because it may skew the “normal” look of a scene. But for art and my own personal usage, I employ these. So I hope you enjoy them, and if in the area and have never visited, it will be worth the trip. Bring comfortable shoes and water and snacks and spend some time. Reprints of the Adams Homestead can be found here.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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