"Quit hanging on to the handrails... Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it everyday"

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tri-State Travel - A Quick Peek at Decorah Iowa

On the last weekend of National Parks Week I took a quick, local road trip to Effigy Mounds National Monument all by myself to do a little hiking.  My husband was out in the fields, well supposed to be, he ended up getting rained out :( and my son was at a Boy Scout thing, so I was on my own.  I had planned on heading south to Missouri but when I saw the weather forecast I made a quick shift in plans and headed north.
Effigy Mounds Park sign
Yeah I know I'm that kind of travel dork haha! This is me AFTER my 3 mile hike
It was more beautiful north of us that weekend, then to the south you see.  After I spent the morning hiking through Effigy I made a quick afternoon stop in Decorah Iowa and I was so glad I did.  I was able to get a fabulous panini at the Oneota Community Co-Op, an organic grocery store and cafe that features local and regional producers before I set out to explore.

Decorah Iowa to me was a bit like Galena Illinois with a Scandinavian flare.  I can't wait until I can go back here for a longer weekend.  There was simply so much I couldn't see.  They had a Norweigian American Museum called the Vesterheim.  Vesterheim is Norweigian for "western home" and that is how the Scandinavian immigrants felt.  My Scandinavian heritage is of fascination to me simply because my great, great grandparents didn't take much of their culture with them when they came to America, but assimilated almost completely into American culture.  About the only thing that still remains is a signed document from the King of Norway saying that my great, great grandfather could sail to America.  So anything Norweigian or Scandinavian peaks my interest.  Unfortunately I did not think I would have time to view the museum, so that will have to wait until next time.

As far as outdoor recreation goes, Decorah has just about everything that I could possibly want.  It is a HUGE biking town, where you can bike along the Upper Iowa River which has great late spring, early summer kayaking, canoeing and float trips.  There is a fish hatchery and some of the best trout fishing around, along with several trails to walk along.  There is an ice cave to explore and Decorah even has world famous eagles that nest here you can visit!
eagles 1
He isn't one of the Decorah eagles, but he is beautiful just the same
 
My main reason for going to Decorah this day was to see the waterfall!  And what a beautiful waterfall it is! 

DSC_0176
 
The waterfall is 200 feet tall that you can walk around and play in.  There are trails that lead to the top of the waterfall and rocks to climb on.  You can see where the stream comes out of the rocks, before it leads to the waterfall. 
 
The day that I was visiting there was a mountain biking timed trial race going on.  The town was packed full of mountain bikes and the road to this waterfall was closed off on one side.  Of course that was the side that I ended up at.  I started to make the one mile trek down the road to get to the waterfall.  This is after my 3 mile hike through Effigy so I was a bit tired, but determined.  About half way down I ran into a couple of other walkers and we started to chat.  They told me that I could go to the other side of the road, the side that was open to car traffic, and park close to the waterfall.  I thanked them but had to laugh at myself as I turned around to hike back to my car and proceed to my destination.  The waterfall area was totally packed!  The cars were parked all crazy like and I almost got boxed in by a Jeep Wrangler(oh such fun on this day) and a mini-van.  There are picnic areas with benches that I took full advantage of to relax while listening to the laughter of children playing in the waterfall and running water.  A beautiful way to end a beautiful day.

Random road trip part 2. Where am I :)? Close to the same area as first pic. Thank u random stranger for taking this pic.
Thank you random stranger for taking this picture.
 
dunnings springs shoes
My adventure feet for this trip.  How I wished I had my water shoes this day!
 
Decorah Iowa is on my definate return trip list and next time I hope to bring the family with me for some good times!
 
This post is part of Photo Friday at R We There Yet Mom and Delicious Baby.  Go there for some armchair daydreamin'.  If you would like to see more of my pictures please "like" my Facebook page or visit my photography website.  You can also check out my Flickr photostream.

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15 comments:

  1. How fun!!! I'll had this to my places to visit. Thanks for sharing. xo marlis

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    1. It is one of those "hidden" treasures I think. It's been rated at many different travel sites. Worth a visit.

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  2. Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for taking us along.

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    1. I did. Every so often I really enjoy taking off by myself for a few days :). You are very welcome.

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  3. It looks and sounds like you had a wonderful day and the locale sounds wonderful. I'm intrigued by the ice cave. :)

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    1. I know I didn't get a chance to check that out either. It was another one of the stops here that I want to come back and do with my son. He would enjoy it. I did have a fun time.

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  4. I love waterfalls so much! You can't tell that it was crowded from your pictures.

    That's really cool that of the things your family saved, it was something from the king. Have you read the Shoemaker's Daughter? The family is Italian, but when I read your story it kind of reminded me of this book.

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    1. Haha I know I totally had to wait then snap a pic when I got the chance. About two seconds after that pic I had three college kids pop into view. No I have not read that book. I will have to look it up and read it. Thanks for the tip. I was able to look at the certificate and it was very, very neat to see.

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  5. So beautiful ! Love that photo of the eagle.

    Great to have you be a part of "Oh, the PLACES I have been!"

    - The Tablescaper

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    1. Thank you! Glad to be joining you. I really love checking out all the different places people write about. I love eagles, such fun to photograph, probably one of my favorite subjects. Hope to see you all again soon :).

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  6. How lucky you are to have national parks and monuments so near your home that you can take occasional casual hikes by yourself! Must be very relaxing.

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