Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An Iowa winter --- lite

The last time it snowed enough to amount to anything I didn't shovel the driveway --- forecaster said the temperatures would rise into the 40s later in the week and melt it. Didn't happen. Should have known better. So that icy residue still was there yesterday when I went out to scoop (more like push) away the latest light snowfall. Not making the same mistake twice.

We've been badly spoiled by a winter that's seemed more like Tennessee's than the south of Iowa's. Not that I'm complaining.

But it was pretty yesterday and felt more normal, providing you managed not to hit a patch of ice and fall flat --- which I did, but only once.

This was how the museum campus looked late yesterday morning when the snow still was coming down. Later in the day, a little freezing rain slickened the streets and roads and I'm not quite sure what the situation is this morning, although both Chariton and Albia schools are running two hours late, probably because of ice.

There's a meeting at the museum first thing this morning and that should be interesting. Slide down one hill, creep up another. And then the circle drive, which the city kindly clears for us, probably won't have been bladed because it's justifiably not high on the priority list.

Immediately after taking this photo of the blacksmith shop yesterday, I turned, took two steps, hit ice on the patio under the newfallen slow and fell flat on my back. One snow angel later, I was back on my feet --- walking with more caution than's been necessary since some time last winter.


I was interested in this recent post on John Pearson's "Out and About" blog --- January Hike on Elk Rock Bluff. Although I know where Elk Rock State Park is --- just off Highway 14 before you get to the long bridge north of Knoxville --- I've never been able to find the rock formation for which it's named. Admittedly, I've not tried that hard. Maybe this year. Although DNR and Corps of Engineers maps and literature are not helpful.

The big problem here is that Elk Rock now is best approached from the waters of the Red Rock reservoir, the vast impoundment that floods the Des Moines River Valley from Pella westward toward Des Moines, including the "red rock" formations from which that big pond takes its name.

I like to walk places, drive when walking's not practical. Boats, however, are not my thing. Had God intended southern Iowans to float, I figure, she'd have built Red Rock, Rathbun and Saylorville herself rather than relying on the Corps.

I also enjoyed this recent post from the Browns down at Timberhill Oak Savanna in Decatur County --- The Magic Potion.

Lord knows, I have enough purple coneflowers. I'm not sure I'm ready to stew chopped roots in vodka to produce a cure, but it's an interesting thought and I'm glad to see that someone does it.


John Pearson said...

Hello Frank, Elk Rock Bluff is hiding in plain sight due (as you noted) to lack of labels on maps on DNR and ACE websites. I cannot post clickable weblinks in this reply box, but if you start at the DNR website (www.iowadnr.gov), click on the "Destinations" tab, then choose "State Park & Rec Areas", then "Iowa's State Parks" (click here); then click on "Elk Rock State Park". At the top of the Elk Rock webpage, there is a landscape photograph of of Elk Rock Bluff as seen looking eastward from the south end of the Hwy 14 Mile Long Bridge. The map below the photo highlights the geographic shape of the park, with Elk Rock itself being the northernmost point. Hope this helps!

I enjoy your wise and witty postings. Keep up the great work and thanks also for your plugs to my blog!
-John Pearson

Anonymous said...

Even if not clickable, pasting one of these link into the browser might work. Park page:

I've looked from the top, near the north end of the driveway into the area, and haven't seen much.

The problem is that like most of the bluffs around that area, it is very round-shouldered with no cliff edge to give you a view.

When you get out to where you start to worry about your footing, there are still a lot of trees in front of you on steeper and steeper ground.

Bill H.