Jump to content
WildSurvive Forum
oldfatguy

OFG out Wandering About

Recommended Posts

The coordinates took us up a very steep slope, about 300 feet.  We made the climb and searched the area, not finding the cave we were looking for.  Yeah, Iowa is flat...really.

 

The last is a pictures of Stacey and her dog Lacee at the coordinates listed for the Earthcache.

Bixby06.thumb.JPG.4ef71f3117fe1673a79f6919201dea24.JPG

Bixby07.thumb.jpg.a305d899855fe1823e73f3c74a8b45c7.jpg

Bixby08.thumb.jpg.4e98b42e12b54f86a5f426e7c0573d38.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We decided to go back to the parking area and follow the directions listed in the Earthcache description. Stacey had been here years ago and vaguely remembered where the cave might be.

 

At the parking area is a shelter house with a large fireplace that would be a great place to hang out. There are two other small buildings, built by the conservation corps during the depression.  The foundations and sides of the building were still very solid, but the roofs of both buildings had weathered away.

Bixby10.thumb.jpg.abe0fffe3c4678e6f4da5cb5d7fc795c.jpg

Bixby09.thumb.jpg.ea9c7aeb1f92bd098a5c15b8e380a66a.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We found the cave and took the measurements needed to log the Earthcache.  This is a very interesting area. 

 

Here is the description from the Earthcache listing:

 

"A very rare, natural refrigeration phenomena is located at the Bixby State Park. Very few algific slopes are open to the public, so be especially careful not to cause any damage at this location. Park at the CCC shelter just north of Bear Creek, cross the creek and you’ll see a stairway leading to the caves. If it’s a hot day, you will see fog and feel a cooling sensation – very eerie and refreshing!

 

Algific slopes was coined to describe this very unusual phenomena. Algific means cold air and talus means loose rocks. At one time, ice bulged from this cave, but now it’s only visible from the entrance. These North facing bluffs are protected from the harsh sun by their sharp angle as well as the vegetation around them. The porous dolomite and limestone provide an excellent network for chambers that allow air flow and water to seep in between the rocks. Some of these chambers extend a quarter of a mile into the hillside and are also connected to sink holes above the ice cave.

 

During the winter, cold air permeates the bedrock to 30-40 feet below the surface. During the spring, water and snow melt through the loose rocks, and freezes upon contact with the super cooled air. During the summer, air inside the rock is colder and heavier than the outside air. The lower air pressure within the system draws in warm air. As the air comes in contact with the frozen groundwater, it cools and picks up humidity. When it becomes sufficiently heavy, it flows out through the slope’s vents and you’ll feel it just like air conditioning on a hot summer day.

 

During the winter, the air movement moves from outside to inside, and refreezes the groundwater. The temperature of the cave stays fairly constant at around 40F.

 

This flow of cool moist air also creates a unique micro-ecosystem that is full of rare flora and fauna."

Bixby11.thumb.jpg.290cb00ca0cb1fe435777fb2e6940731.jpg

Bixby12.thumb.jpg.081fad2df2518b07fcdc79b68d7a40f8.jpg

Bixby13.thumb.jpg.9519e61d50fa626e54c8402cddd52191.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After we finished the Earthcache at Bixby State Preserve, Stacey had to head home and I headed down to Backbone State Park.  This is Iowa's first state park,  established in 1920 and covers 2,002 acres.  I have been here a few times, but never to the north entrance.  I found the road closed, but wanted to walk into Richmond Springs to try to find a geocache.

 

I parked at the gate and my GPSr showed about 3/4 mile to the cache.  I followed the road until it took a bit of a turn and then cut across to the listed cache coordinates. 

 

Along the way, I found a very interesting vine hanging from a tree.  Apparently a poison ivy vine had been growing on this tree for quite some time. The tree died and the bark pealed off.  The vine is attached very high up the tree and the spider roots of the ivy held on to large chunks of bark.

 

I continued on through the woods to the cache site.

Backbone01.thumb.jpg.35df9d0a6f0d83d8eb8da63cb6cf0051.jpg

Backbone02.thumb.jpg.a0303615c83103d8f7fd7a85933904dd.jpg

Backbone03.thumb.jpg.ded78c13a0abd257992f8d2d9b183c66.jpg

Backbone04.thumb.jpg.9b0cb0bb8aff1aacb3419b92b00a887c.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found the springs and was amazed. There are two large pools formed by water flowing out of the base of the limestone cliff.  I could hear the water running from the springs quite a ways away.

 

According to the sign, approximately 1,500 gallons of water flow from the springs each minute and supplies water for the trout hatchery.

 

I climbed up and around for a while, searching for the cache and finally was able to locate it. 

 

Sunlight was fading and I had to head home. I would have loved to have spent hours listening to the flowing water.

Backbone05.thumb.jpg.6561122a81bc41210dacdc4d47aa6cf8.jpg

Backbone06.thumb.jpg.34eaaa789da2b2a975043da68f5781d1.jpg

Backbone07.thumb.jpg.cda9a0db1bf8d7dc58a4c6f5a0c21f1f.jpg

Backbone08.thumb.jpg.f08ca772539da62f47adb97177f0bd94.jpg

Backbone09.thumb.jpg.286164bc0e1eb160d3207ea9414f8fd3.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are over 25 miles of trails at Backbone State Park, which covers some of the most rugged terrain you will find anywhere. This area was missed by the glaciers that smoothed out the surrounding prairies most people picture when the think of the flat farmland of Iowa.

 

This is only a very small section of Backbone State Park.  I definitely need to come back here and spend more time.

 

On the way out, I found a pretty good sized tree that a buck was still using.

Backbone10.thumb.jpg.23aa757a9c4f7401bfb2bc9d570a4c1d.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On Sunday, March 4, 2012, I took a walk down the Cedar Valley Nature Trail starting at the trail head in Evansdale.  This is a railroad track that was converted to a public use trail and runs all the way to Cedar Rapids, about 52 miles.  It interconnects the trail system in Waterloo and Cedar Falls with those in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. 

 

In June of 2008, the record flooding destroyed the bridge at the trail head along with another, about 20 miles down the trail.  The trail head bridge was rebuilt and reopened last fall. The bridge farther down is scheduled to be rebuilt starting this summer.

 

http://www.inhf.org/trails/cedar-valley-nature-trail.cfm

 

The first 16 miles from Evansdale south are paved with asphalt, after which, it turns to packed crushed gravel.  Approximately 4 miles before arriving at Hiawatha, the trail is paved again.

 

This is on a railroad bed, so there are no steep hills, which makes for a great bike ride.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the new bridge at the trail head.  It is hard to believe that bridge was under water in 2008.

 

The trail is well maintained and usually has trees on at least one or both sides. There are some open areas.  There is lots of wildlife along this trail, pretty much everything. 

 

It starts out along the Cedar River.

Hike0.thumb.jpg.4dcb67dfdcd9a045534930b20005a4ff.jpg

Hike2.thumb.jpg.66f2c957b816d02842d379c64243ae97.jpg

Hike6.thumb.jpg.7e387b8169bde0d50a54df6b5516b843.jpg

Hike7.thumb.jpg.32b6a8bf711f974633090c148b60262e.jpg

Hike8.thumb.jpg.9d86fdf2124f6c07e61151204f60698c.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hiked down the trail 3 miles.  There are numerous benches along the way and the miles are well marked.

 

After I turned around, it was interesting to see my tracks in the snow.  I actually did run into another person out on the trail in the snow.

Hike9.thumb.jpg.cde43be84b00970fdd46e3c30eebc4c8.jpg

Hike10.thumb.jpg.529a78cf5cca87a476c18fcb4bd6c3ef.jpg

3.thumb.jpg.286cd55384e0b682bbdc0e134dae768a.jpg

Hike11.thumb.jpg.c54f606fd45e45596f3e66e7a4610f3c.jpg

Tracks.thumb.jpg.de2f43e51fab68d1d752a2af9d2a2e75.jpg

Hike.thumb.jpg.7c6bf689cae118965c43ad498553299a.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About half a mile from the trial head, I stopped and decided to practice fire making in the snow. 

 

First, I cleared as much snow from the spot as I could, then I built a little platform of bigger sticks, then covered this with bark, so when starting my fire, it would be up out of the snow.

 

I was able to find some nice dry wood and had some fatwood along with me.  I made some fuzz sticks and then cut some thin slices off of the fatwood.  I also scraped some fatwood dust (well, gooey dust) on to the top of the pile.  Even with this, I was not able to get the fatwood to take a spark and light.  Finally, I resorted to a small piece of dryer lint. This lit almost immediately and the flame started the fatwood.

 

Once I had a fire going. I melted snow in my canteen cup (I cleared off the entire bench, which gave me half a cup) then kept adding snow until the cup was filled.

 

It worked really well to heat the water in the cup to boiling, then set it in the snow and keep filling it with snow. This melted the snow very quickly.  Once the snow quit melting, I filled it to the top with snow and put it back in the fire.

 

Once the cup was full of water (and only a little dirt and a few pieces of bark), I put in a tea bag and let it simmer.

 

By then, it was pretty much dark, but the moon was up, along with Venus and Jupiter. The fresh snow made the moon light very effective at lighting up the area.  It was great to just sit back next to the fire with a warm drink and enjoy the world.

Hike12.thumb.jpg.1400aec86a116a6f714a3058b5578eda.jpg

Hike13.thumb.jpg.7241c7a8c4a76e3f9133a0082603a472.jpg

Hike4.thumb.jpg.8161c288d18be53e8515bdb700d42b79.jpg

Hike14.thumb.jpg.3a90b4e46f31a0851ccc49b77ec0ecd8.jpg

Hike3.thumb.jpg.37c1fb67529e37a50cffab765f563c5a.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the time I was back at the bridge, the sky had cleared.  I was able to easily find Venus, Jupiter and Mars, with the moon between them.  As I crossed the bridge, I was finally able to spot Mercury, just above the western horizon.  From the bridge, I was able to see 4 of the 5 planets that are visible from Earth with the naked eye. 

 

It is still hard to believe that the entire area I hiked today was covered by 4-6 feet of flowing water during the flood of 2008.  Parts to the trail were completely washed out - I am glad these have since been repaired.

 

It was a beautiful afternoon walking and the snow covered everything, only the muffled sounds of nature and my boots crunching on the wet snow as I walked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your efforts Fat Guy  :thumbup:  Way more energy then this older Fatter Guy has got left.  :'(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wow that is nice

Thanks, SG.  It is a great resource for the community.  I have ridden the full length twice.  There are lots of little towns with places to stop along the way. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had the chance to go back to the Cedar Valley Nature Trail again this afternoon (March 9, 2012).  Today, I started at Gilbertville, approximately 5 miles down the trail from where I started last Sunday and no snow today.

 

In the summer, when the trees are leafed out, some places are almost like a tunnel.  This puts a lot of the trail in the shade.  Today I was heading down to get a relatively new geocache.

 

The trail runs along the Cedar River, and there are a number of small ponds along the trail, probably areas that were dug out for fill when building the original railroad bed.

CVNT01.thumb.jpg.2b1ae1c9e92129f650f56731191c4e00.jpg

CVNT02.thumb.jpg.03c39355731145af01f7172a2bc6a18e.jpg

CVNT03.thumb.jpg.ded48ae67b9c0c6f261154d0adc84d73.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I was getting close to the cache site, I decided to take a short cut.  As it turned out (as it usually does), my short cut did not work out so well.  The cache is about 360 feet from where I was standing when I took this picture...straight across the lake.  Oops.  I backtracked and made my way to the cache site.

 

Can you find the cache in the second picture (the one of the downed tree)?

 

The third picture has a hint.

 

On the way back to the trail, there was a nice open prairie to the east and north with a bird watching shelter.

CVNT04.thumb.jpg.b2eec892e5aae7386071ad5600cb7c40.jpg

CVNT05.thumb.jpg.bb7d9835c47ab903a033b207a1bf10c0.jpg

CVNT05a.thumb.jpg.bb785f8a83f0d2b8c1cae93d9b9429ca.jpg

CVNT06.thumb.jpg.8b5e9c2a5a6a58e73deecfbc5182db16.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sun was starting to move lower and I had 3 miles back to my truck.  It was a great day, but it was starting to cool off a bit.

 

At Gilbertville, there is train depot from when the railroad was active.  At one time, there was a little restaurant in the depot.  The building is still in good shape and there are some people in the area that are trying to raise money to open a snack shop during the summer.

CVNT07.thumb.jpg.9010d71e773b582e16961b09597d917d.jpg

CVNT08.thumb.jpg.f66a3e6cd38e87d30f461b9952d9314d.jpg

CVNT09.thumb.jpg.d3ce6c61cef2ef711f814683a135ce54.jpg

CVNT10.thumb.jpg.8b5d8750fc9611e8e56097e61a99ae86.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From Gilbertville, you can continue north to the bridge, where I started on Sunday.

 

This entire area was under water during the flood in 2008.  There is a high water mark someplace around the depot, but I think the water was about half way up the first floor windows.

 

A gorgeous sunset.

CVNT11.thumb.jpg.5f0e402079de33cb3fda3ff9e68735ea.jpg

CVNT12.thumb.jpg.7fbf51055ff75e7e6d899380dab5dd9b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Off to the woods again today. Temp  was in the 60's but a bit windy.  Went to Crumbacher Wildlife Area.  This is just a little tract of timber.  I was here a couple of years ago with my son finding some geocaches and came back today to grab a new one out here.

 

There are no trails in this area, it is pretty much just timber surrounded by crop ground.  This area is open for public hunting.

 

 

There are some open grasslands mixed in.

Crumbacher01.thumb.jpg.9cabc41a8571ba9cdbc2e682a1765de1.jpg

Crumbacher02.thumb.jpg.5a62f67c2b936b8364ee49a3a9129a54.jpg

Crumbacher03.thumb.jpg.7b71eb8d0579e9f34c4f6d03d2933d4b.jpg

Crumbacher04.thumb.jpg.ed93d4d84b4e665e81c942e5a73f12d7.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was surprised with all the standing water in the area.  Last time I was here, it was dry.

 

I also scared up a tom turkey.  He was about 10 feet from me when he jumped up and ran off.  Too bad I didn't have my camera out.

 

There was a trail mowed around the outside and another around a little prairie area.

Crumbacher05.thumb.jpg.4f0df55cff3b5a01b7c750159f0234d0.jpg

Crumbacher06.thumb.jpg.3d4c185d644c3daaf198d6ed6aa50e0d.jpg

Crumbacher07.thumb.jpg.7350e09ba8463ecf01a5608807bcaec9.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also came across a couple of glacial erratics in the woods. This first one is pretty good sized.

 

As I got back to the parking area, there was what looked to be a restored prairie.

 

Overall, about a 2.25 mile hike around the area.

Crumbacher08.thumb.jpg.daa98c72a8307be69a57ff8aaa4cbaf9.jpg

Crumbacher09.thumb.jpg.b6750fa6dc177215d0c64d22deeb6bb1.jpg

Crumbacher10.thumb.jpg.a27415386e0d98171a4bc17372f25edc.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×