In Between the Cornfields

Iowa.

I think when we see or hear that word, many of us think of cornfields and small towns and then more cornfields. Maybe throw in some beef cattle and the image of a tractor driving down main street for good measure and that’s that. I know I think of the Amana Colonies and cornfields and sometimes John Deere and the Quad Cities and Seed Savers. It just so happens, though, that my husband found an amazing hidden treasure in Iowa, Backbone State Park, and sensing it would be a good fit for our little family, he set us up with a mini-vacation to this spot earlier this week. I hear it’s a very popular spot for its swimming beach and pristine brooks for trout fishing so maybe it isn’t so hidden, but it was new to us, a fresh adventure. We all needed a little getaway and were very much looking forward to seeing this new spot.

As we wound our way through the rolling fields of corn, it was pretty hard to believe that a hilly, wooded park was tucked away somewhere in the endless acres the farm fields. But it was…

trail2And it was every bit as lovely as we’d hoped.

Since it is October and weather can be unpredictable in these parts, we were ecstatic to be able to rent an inexpensive, basic cabin for our time in the park.

cabinUsually we tent camp, so this was a HUGE treat for us — such a luxury to enjoy amenities like running water, electric lights, a full kitchen, and heat. We listened to Bald Eagles by day and Barred Owls by night on this porch and many games were played around the little kitchen table once the sun went down. Since it is the off-season, it was wonderfully quiet and peaceful. The near constant whir of combines harvesting corn in the distance blended in naturally, just as the ocean tides of the beach or the wind of the prairie.

trailAnd we enjoyed having the hiking trails — of which there are many — largely to ourselves.

IMG_1068Really, what a beautiful time of year to be in this place.

We made some new friends…

millipedeA millipede my son found…

tree frogAnd a very, very cold tree frog.

We found an amazing little spot down by a crystal clear stream…

IMG_1096And we spent a lot of time there because it made everyone happy…

IMG_1098A log to balance on, a stick to throw — as a family, we excel at enjoying the simple pleasures.

d and mooseAnd we were reminded that if you give a 7-year-old and a lab a water source, that you have instant and immeasurable joy not to mention a couple hours of easy entertainment for everyone.

In case you were wondering…

river deliaShe did eventually fall in. It’s ok though, because her boots are waterproof (no matter that the water was up to her knees).

Moose trailI’m not sure if Moose was happier that he got to be on the trail a good portion of the day or that he got to play in the water or that he got to sleep in a cabin instead of a tent. Whatever the case, he was a very happy boy. In fact, we all had a very wonderful time.

 When not hiking or playing, I did work on my daughter’s Little Miss Charming sweater…

IMG_1152The body was mostly finished on the way to the park and I worked on the sleeves (versions 1 and 2… more on that later) on the way home. And last night…

IMG_1166I finished it.

As we get back to our normal routine, I have to admit that I’m very thankful for the few days we had at the little cabin on the lake tucked away in between cornfields in Iowa. The quiet, the trails, the wildlife, and even the total lack of internet access was a great relief and a wonderful respite from the hustle of everyday life. I’m happy to be home, but what lovely memories and what a wonderful little getaway indeed.

across the lake

Many thanks to Mr. Knitting Sarah who for most of the photos in this post!

16 responses to “In Between the Cornfields

  1. Now THAT is the kind of camping I can get on board with. 🙂 Better than your collapsing tent kind. Looks like a wonderful mini-vacation, and a discovery of a place you can easily return to many times.

    • Right?! That was definitely Moose’s reaction. It’s a different experience, but we discovered even though it costs more to rent a cabin, we saved a ton having the full kitchen. We are definitely exploring cabin options for future trips!

      • yes,a kitchen is a good thing. and off season pricing is a good thing to hunt for. I love little cabins, especially if they have heat. I stayed at a wonderful one in Wells, ME one fall, it had a fireplace, too, I could have lived there forever.

      • Mr Knitting Sarah loves off-season — we just aren’t people who enjoy crowds, so that makes things easier. And I told my hubby that I’m so much more amenable to things like hiking in the rain when I know I have a warm place to return to. Hiking in rain and then going back to a tent is not high on my list of things I enjoy. LOL!

  2. What a beautiful place! Congrats to Mr. Knitting Sarah for such great photos. I agree with you about not enjoying crowds. When I was young, my family went camping every year and those are treasured memories, not to mention, gave me a respect for nature. Your kids will thank you when they’re older and you’ll thank yourself for the wonderful memories.

    LOVE the sweater. Kudos on finishing so quickly!

    • I really appreciate the gems my hubby finds for vacations. He’s very good at including a ‘favorite’ for everyone which really makes it memorable. I’m afraid he’s the one I’m thanking — it’s all him!

    • I don’t mind the cold — just an excuse to wear lots of handknits. 🙂 In any case, it was actually quite warm — in the low 70s or upper 60s each day. Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about the low temps because we had heat. 🙂

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