Iowa 2010 – Day 17

Waubonsie State Park: A natural history day

Saturday May 22, 2010

I’m awake at eight and take off on the trails soon after. It’s supposed to be quite hot and windy today, so I’d like to get in some hiking before the heat and humidity become unpleasant. I hike through valleys with big trees and along the ridges, down through the Girl Scout camp the park has recently annexed and through pleasant picnic areas. Even though the campground is crowded I have the trails all to myself.

Along the trail at Waubonsie State Park, IA

After I exhaust the trail system I head back to my campsite to do some bike maintenance. The wind and temperature have really picked up. I give the bike a bath and tighten nuts, clean and lube the chain, etc. By mid-afternoon the wind is gusting over 50 mph, blowing stuff all over the campground and collapsing a poor couple’s Walmart tent. It’s quite hot, too. I’m so glad I didn’t plan to ride today because it would have been impossible in this wind.

In the evening I chat with the ranger again and he brings down a little plastic Smokey the Bear pin and wishes me well on my trip. He says, ‘I was going to give you a key chain, but I figured this would be lighter.’ Right on, I love it when non-cyclists get it. Later he sends down the other ranger, a guy a bit younger than me who rides both mountain and road bikes. He’s from this area originally and we chat traffic, places to mountain bike, and our dream places to go ride. Very cool. Despite my feral campsite neighbours and the weekend camping crowd, I’ve absolutely loved my day and a half at this park. Nerd Emily got to see some unique veg and geology and sit around at some park overlooks contemplating the landscape changes over the past 15,000 years. My cerebral side was stimulated while the physical side rested. Perfect!

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