Monday, February 29, 2016

Welcome To The Wasteland

What is this vast field of frozen rubble you see here? You may be surprised by the answer. You may also be surprised that the temperature was 71° Fahrenheit that day. This was this last Saturday. The spring warm up has started, but not quite completely. We'll still have some slightly cooler days left.

But I still haven't answered the question yet, have I? The other two pictures won't help, so don't look at them yet. You'll have to read my story to find out the answer, and I really am going to get to it. Really. So read on.

I was expecting this warm day for awhile, so I had big plans for it. Then when the day finally came I woke up kind of late. I also ended up with lots to do at home. When I finally got out it was already mid-afternoon. That's not really a very good start, is it?

So when I finally got to my favorite nature park it was only half an hour till closing time. That place closes really early for some odd reason. I knew I wasn't going to have time for anything, so I just took a quick look around to see how much snow was left. Not much. I didn't bother with any pictures because there just wasn't enough time. I'll be back soon enough though.

As I was leaving I had the idea to go to downtown Sioux City and take a look at the Missouri River. I could get some good pictures there, and the day wouldn't be wasted after all. It's when I got down there that it all went wrong. I will tell you now that I was kind of shocked by what I found.

You may have already guessed. Maybe not. There is a parking lot down there from where you can sit and look out at the river. You can also walk down to the edge of the river. Nope. None of that. The frozen wasteland you see in my pictures is that very parking lot. The last two pictures show the wall of snow and ice that is blocking the view of the river.

They must have plowed all of the snow in the city down to this very spot. If you look to the top left of the first picture you can see a little bit of the river there in the distance. That's all I saw too. Everything else was these pictures. Welcome to the wasteland.

Most people like to blog about the beautiful things they find in their travels. I do some of that, but mostly what I have always done is try to show reality, good and bad. This may be considered bad, but it's really very interesting, at least to me. And I had a good time with the adventure, and with the story. That's what's important.

But wait, there's more! Not really in this post. But this wasn't all I saw that day. I visited more stuff that I think was a little more productive. I'll show that to you in my next post, which will come halfway soon. I think it'll be kind of interesting in a historical sense. You'll see. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Hills And Snowstorms

I was so enthusiastic about my new favorite nature park in my last few posts. I still am. I'm not getting there enough though. It's kind of frustrating, but I'm letting the weather dictate what I do. I realize that I have to do it, and I'll tell you why.

Years ago when I was still in Michigan I was writing a new blog post every day. There was no kind of weather tough enough to stop me from going out to my nature parks. I remember going out in the pouring rain to check on the geese at one park. I went out when it was still dark. I went out when it was so foggy you couldn't see more than a few feet in front of you.

One time I went out to one of the wilder parks in the middle of a snowstorm. The park was kind of a big place, and not very many people went there even in good weather. I guess they liked the more civilized places. But in this snowstorm I knew I would be absolutely alone. There might not be anybody in this park for days.

About two thirds of the way into the park there is a creek. The creek had been there for a very long time because you had to go down three big hills - I guess they would be called hills - to get to it. The creek must have been a very wide and deep river at one time in the distant past. Now it was a small creek at the bottom of what was once that big river.

Anyway, I made it past this area and to the back of the park with no problem. It was on the way back that I didn't do so well. On my way back the snowfall increased greatly and the wind began to blow hard. I was beginning to think about being there all alone, and I thought maybe I should get out of there.

When I got to the top of the hill going down to the creek I was very conscious of how steep it was and of the slippery covering of snow. That still didn't matter. After a few steps my feet both went out from under me. I slid down that whole length of the hill all the way to the bottom. I was moving so fast all I could do was hold my camera up in the air and hope it didn't get damaged.

When I finally got to the bottom I was glad to realize that my camera and I were both unhurt. I was also now more focused than ever of just getting back out of the park. Once I got back up the other side of the ravine - that may be a better word for it - I was just fine. The rest of the way out of the park was all flat land. It's those hills that get you.

And that's my problem. My new favorite nature park is all hills, and as you might not be able to tell by my pictures, we just had the biggest snowstorm since I've been here in Iowa. When I say biggest I mean huge. I have a couple of garbage cans outside the house. The snow has completely covered them up. The snow is actually deeper than my garbage cans. This was one of the biggest snowfalls of my life.

So now I finally come to the end of this long written post. I'm reluctant to go to my nature parks because the snow covered hills are potentially very slippery. I'm going to try anyway in a few days just to see what it's like there. Maybe I'm worried over nothing. I guess I'm about to find out. I'll talk to you later with the results of that.

Update: Now that I'm finally posting this story temperatures are warm and  the snow is all melting. Now all of my slipping and sliding will be on mud.