Travel: Ledges State Park, Iowa

I was in the mood to do some hiking last week while I was in Iowa and one of my friends suggested we take a trip to Ledges State Park. I grew up close to Ledges, and even went to girl scout camp about a minute away, but had never been to the park before. I didn’t know what to expect but we had a great experience.

The first thing we saw was a swampy area.

Ledges State Park Swamp

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

I personally love areas like this, as long as they don’t smell. Fortunately, this one was all good. AND there was a lovely surprise! If you look closely at the picture, you can see dozens of tiny cricket frogs sticking out of the algae.

Swamp with frogs

The following is another section of the same pond. If you look to the left of the big branch, you can see little froggie heads sticking up.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Next we walked to the “secret lake” – not really sure how a giant green swamp is a secret, but it was lovely. Here is a pic of my friend Mikey, the wonderful guy who took me to Ledges.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Now, the secret lake ended up being one of the best experiences of my entire life. The entire shore was covered in bull frogs and cricket frogs, so every time we moved a dozen would hop into the water.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

You can see some of the frogs in the photo above if you look closely. There aren’t as many close to the camera, but if you look further out you can see just how many were on the shore.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

This next one really worried me. Wasn’t sure if it was a monstrosity or a normal development. Apparently it’s a polliwog. I thought that was a Pokemon, but my friend explained that she is actually a scientist and its a mix between tadpole and frog.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

I never wanted to leave that area, but apparently since we were at Ledges State Park we were required to see the actual ledges.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Here is Mike being an ~expert~ hiker. He even has a backpack with a water pouch!

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Here is me. I’m a normal hiker. I put lipstick on before hitting the trails.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

The view of the Des Moines river was quite lovely.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

This next ledge was a little terrifying. Normally I would have been a daredevil and tried to hop onto it, but apparently some guy died doing that this summer and I wasn’t super interested in following in his footsteps.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

I loved the park and had a great experience, especially the jumping frogs. What is the coolest thing that you’ve seen at a state park?

Advertisements

Travel: Hiking at Devil’s Lake State Park

Last Sunday I traveled to Devil’s Lake State Park with one of my friends to go hiking. This was one of the top 5 things that I wanted to do this summer. I have been wanting to go to Devil’s Lake for several years but haven’t been able to fit it in my schedule, so we decided to go late Sunday afternoon. We were extra happy when we found out that it was free state parks weekend!

IMG_5117

Close to the beginning of our adventure. I was surprised by how difficult it was to walk up the trail! I workout regularly and still found it to be very intense.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

I promise I complained a lot about this IRL stair master.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I was very excited to find a cave halfway along the way.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

This was my first time seeing this view in years, I had forgotten how pretty it is.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Love this view and this woman.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

This was one of my favorite parts of the hike. The water was pretty, but I love the hills and green.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Look at that little baby moon.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

An important part of a trip to Devil’s Lake is a ride on the Merrimac Ferry afterwards. My mom always brought us this way and it is a ton of fun. If you haven’t been on the ferry, you need to try it out! It’s free and there is a delicious ice cream stand.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

The ice cream is definitely one of the perks of taking the ferry.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

The beautiful view is pretty wonderful, too.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

We had an amazing trip. Do you think you’ll make it to Devil’s Lake this summer?

Travel: Top 5 things I want to do this summer

I am a big fan of getting away as much as possible and I’ve gone on more than my fair share of weekend trips over the last few years. Unfortunately for me (but fortunate for my wallet) I have taken on a weekend babysitting job that lasts from 6am-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays for almost all weekends of the summer. My grandpa is also in hospice in Iowa and I would like to spend as much time with him as possible. This means that my weekend trips will be few and far between this summer. Knowing that, there are still a BUNCH of things that I want to do this year. These are my top 5.

1. Hiking at Devil’s Lake: I went to Devil’s Lake often as a teenager and I have never had a bad experience. However, as a kid we went for the beach and swimming, and now I would like to go for hiking purposes. I can’t wait to get up on the rocky cliffs and look out at the beautiful water.

FullSizeRender 2.jpg

Just beautiful.

2. Get drunk in a cabin with my closest friends: Listen, I’m an adult, and if I want to safely get drunk in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with my favorite people, that’s allowed. I’m the one who has to suffer the consequences of the now unavoidable multi-day hangovers.

3. Visit Door County: A few years ago I went to Sturgeon Bay for an event and really fell in love. The city was beautiful, the shops were adorable, and I absolutely want to go back. I haven’t been further up the peninsula, so this is the number one weekend trip that I want to make happen.

FullSizeRender 3.jpg

I now have a mission to find this building, hiding somewhere in Door County.

4. Explore a new cave: I absolutely love caves. I don’t think anything in America will compare to the absolutely incredible experience that I had in Belize (there were SKELETONS) but I am hoping there is some sort of beautiful cave within driving distance.

5. Visit Canada: Considering that I only live six hours from Canada, I have not been there enough. My passport only has another six months on it so I would love to head up to Canada for a long weekend. I went with my family years ago and found this beautiful place called Harmony Beach РI would love to go and spend a day or two there.

S6009366.jpg

He kept trying to splash me, so I picked him up and nearly dropped him. Love my little brother!

There you have it! The top five things that I want to do this summer. What do you have in mind?