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6/21/14

Effigy Mounds National Monument Harpers Ferry Iowa




Heading up. It's about 4,000 feet to the top.
 
                                           Beautiful well maintained trails

With quite a few switchbacks


and some cute critters

looking down

Almost there!



The first mound we see is a linear mound


Next is one of the many effigy mounds. Little Bear. Hard to see from the photo, but one could clearly see the outline of a bear.

Another photo of Little Bear from the other side.


You can see the conical mounds to the right in the photo.

conical mounds

I found this so beautiful and serene. The conical mounds ran the length of these woods all the way to Fire Point overlook.






Turkey vulture

View to the south 
















Pods from the Kentucky Coffee tree.

Kentucky coffee tree

In the visitor's center, watching a 15 minute movie about the mounds.

and visiting the museum. 

You can see where we walked in this ariel view. 

6/20/14

Camping at Pikes Peak State Park McGregor Iowa

Rendezvous at Praire du Chien

This guy had to be warm!







The park is just across the bridge from Prairie du Chien and a few miles south. This is the first Pikes Peak, explored by Zebulon Pike before he explored Colorado. 

With a stunning overlook of the Mississippi/Wisconsin Rivers confluence.


                                                                 Indigo Bunting!


The confluence. This is where Pere Marquette and  Louis Joliet saw the upper Misssissippi for the the first time in 1673.

We hiked down to see Bridal Veil Falls


Yup. This is it!

Beautiful hike on well maintained trails.

Of course it was up all the way back.




bull snake!






The town of McGregor was established in 1837. Beautiful little place. We stopped here for ice cream.



The bridge over the Mississippi and Lady Luck Casino in Marquette.





The campground was buggy. Lots of gnats.

There were a lot of campers. Best thing about Iowa State Parks, is that they are only $11.00 for a non- electric site, and $16.00 for electric, with no annual sticker required. Super cheap! Very clean and friendly rangers and hosts.







The second night we were hit by storms. The campground was evacuated to the storm shelters. About and hour after we were permitted back to our sites,  the girls and I heard the terrific sound of a tree falling, not knowing it was only feet from our tent crushing a chain link fence.

We weren't the only ones who got wet.



Drying out

Another view of the tree. My tent in the background.

Mourning Cloak caterpillar 




         We hung out at the overlook for a few hours while everything dried.





At the park store, one could purchase ice, coffee, ice cream, snacks, and wood



With more storms and rain predicted, we cut our trip short. On the way home, we stopped at Goose Island Campground just south of LaCrosse. It is the largest county campground in the 3 state area with tons of amenities including canoeing, mini golf and a game room. Guess we know our next camping destination!

Plus that there is some swamp area with lots of critters!



HUGE toad


This is where our tent will be in two weeks.

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