Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Yellow River State Forrest with the Family

We wanted to do a family backpacking trip at the Paint Creek Unit of the Yellow River State Forrest in eastern Iowa for a while and we made that happen this weekend. Of course I was envisioning going a longer distance than a mile but the kids, especially Oskar isn't to fond of walking/hiking. It's not a physical hindrance.  It's a why, it's no-fun kind of thing. He loves camping though, roaming freely the forest and poking in the camp fire.

Hiking to the camp site

Saturday afternoon we parked the car at the park head quarter, registered our overnight hike (no cost associated with that) and headed along the trail through the valley to Camp Glen Wendel. Each kid was carrying a small hydration pack with 1.5l water, parts of the kitchen and their sleeping mat. Melissa carried her and the kids sleeping bags, some of the clothing, my and her sleeping mats, and her 2l hydration bladder. I wish sleeping bags wouldn't take up so much volume. I carried 6l of water the food, clothing, and other miscellaneous items.

Checking the map

Smaller, steeper and funner trail

The first part was an flat and easy forestry road. The part up the hill was a narrow foot trail with a few fallen trees blocking the path. Compared to our return path along the ridge, this one is a bit longer, slightly more difficult and has a nicer scenery. At the Glen Wendel camp we found three tents and I concluded a family or small youth group was camping there. The kids went to the lake below the camp and played on the shore while Melissa tried out her chair and watched the kids. I hiked a small loop, part scouting for a good camp site, part adding a bit more distance to my hike. The Glen Wendel camp is on a hill with little flat area so we pitched our tent on the other side from the fire ring.

Small obstacles

Nature bridge

It turned out that our neighbors where four experienced backpackers having a fun weekend. They went to Effigy Mounds National Monument to hike for the day. The little kids tent was used as a gear tent, which threw me off. The guys shared a beer and some stories with us. One of the guys was a boy scout leader with enough patience that finally could get a fire started after my failed attempts. Of course I never learn that camp fires and nylon aren't compatible, so my new pair for pants are ruined. The weather for our hike did stay cooler than what I expected and it would have been wiser to wear a pair of jeans instead.

No hurries getting up today

We were lucky and didn't get any rain that night. At night we heard the coyotes howling and the next morning we heard the woodpeckers working hard. We took a short morning stroll with the kids in the hopes that the sun would come out dry our tent out but we weren't that lucky. So our trip was overcast and cooler than expected. Just before lunch we headed back to the car via the shorter path over the ridge as mentioned before.

Going home

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