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oldfatguy

OFG out Wandering About

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lots of tinder around there  ;)

Yeah, the whole area was pretty much tinder.  I found some cattail and used that to start a little fire, just for practice.

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Yeah, the whole area was pretty much tinder.  I found some cattail and used that to start a little fire, just for practice.

cool, thats always good practice. i try to watch for anything i can use in nature while im hiking even if i dont need it. i remember hiking for hours looking for a cedar tree to make a bow drill kit one time for the scouts and couldnt find one, i came back to camp and there was a beuitifull cottonwood right in plain sight id passed a dozen times that day. grabbed a few branches and poof, had a fire. it really pays to not get single minded  on stuff your looking for.

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cool, thats always good practice. i try to watch for anything i can use in nature while im hiking even if i dont need it. i remember hiking for hours looking for a cedar tree to make a bow drill kit one time for the scouts and couldnt find one, i came back to camp and there was a beuitifull cottonwood right in plain sight id passed a dozen times that day. grabbed a few branches and poof, had a fire. it really pays to not get single minded  on stuff your looking for.

I enjoy that as well, Razor.  Whenever I'm out hiking, I like to just look around and take it all in. I try to notice anything that could be useful - trash, bags, etc, in addition to tinder, sources of dry wood, fresh water source, anything that could be used for food (for example, if needed, I know I could have dug up some cattail roots and fixed them like potatoes).

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Thanks for the pictures OFG!

 

Glad to share, K-woods. I am ready for things to start turning green.  I looked today and didn't find much of anything starting to grow - just a couple of pussy willows starting to open.

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Made it out on the trails at Hartman Reserve last Sunday following the Bushcraft seminar on tarps.  It was a gorgeous day, especially for March in Iowa.

 

Found a few sprouts along the trail.

 

And perhaps a honeymoon cottage for elves?

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Grabbed a few geocaches while I was out as well.

 

Here is what I typically find when a pill bottle is used for the cache container and left out in the elements.

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The last times I looked at this thread I wondered why I couldn't see the pics. I wasn't logged in and didn't realize they were hosted here so thought there was just some glitch. Some really cool pictures OFG, the wild cat den state park looks like an amazing place to go for a hike, lots of iron ore up there it looks like. The springs in the lime stone cliff are really cool. Those ice caves must have been a heck of a resource for the first peoples.

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We had planned a trip to go to Wild Cat last year but had some stuff come up and had to cancel.  We are DEFINITELY going now.  The place looks amazing.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Went on a hike at Palisades Kepler State Park through Hartman Reserve.

 

Spring Wildflowers, Phenology and Fermentation

Hartman Reserve Nature Center, Black Hawk County

 

"During this quarterly program series we will learn about phenology (changes to nature through the seasons) and fermentation (the conversion of sugars to alcohol). During this program we will travel to Palisades-Kepler State Park to hike, look at wildflowers, and to chat about the changes that occur as winter melts into spring.  Following the hike you will be taken to the Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery near Swisher, IA where you will be able to sample some of the wines they have to offer."

 

From the parking area along the river, there were some awesome views.  I would love to have the house on the cliff.

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On the drive down (about an hour) it was raining pretty good, but quit by the time we got to the park.  We hiked the Cedar Cliff Trail (gotta love their trail markers).

The trail started out pretty flat and was very well groomed and maintained.  There are a number of limestone rock outcrops along the trail, as well and some beautiful bridges and other stone work. These were built by the Civilian Conservation Corp during the depression.

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Continuing up the trail took us up the first bluff. At the top, was a beautiful stone gazebo.  I loved the directional stone set in the floor.  Looking at it closely, it is much older than the gazebo, which appears to have been built in the 5 years.

 

The trail ran for a bit along the top of the bluff overlooking the river. Farther up the hill is the campground and cabins available for rental.

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The trail continued along, running up and down the bluffs.  Along the way were some more stone bridges.  At the far end, I thrashed through the woods to find a geocache.  Gotta love finding an ammo can in the woods.

 

This was an out and back hike, but there were a couple of loops to vary the route. Overall, we hiked right at 3 miles and had an elevation change of 600-700 feet.

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During the hike, we found and identified a number of interesting plants along the trail.

 

The first is jewel weed, usually found close to poison ivy. This can be used to treat poison ivy.

 

We also found a lot of garlic mustard. This is a non-native invasive species.  It is edible.  I tried some - the leaves don't taste bad at all.

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This is wild geranium.

 

Next is a very nice jack in the pulpit.

 

Third is beaked hazelnut.

 

The last one is called pine apple rust.  It only occurs on pine trees that are close to apple trees. There is a specific fungus that starts out growing on the apple tree, then moves to the pine tree and forms this.

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There was quite a bit of shooting star along the trail.

 

We also found some Jumpseed (Polygonum virginianum)  It has a purple "V" on its leaves.

 

Growing on a downed tree branch, we found some turkeytail fungus. This was very rubbery.

 

A rather rare plant we found was a prairie trillium, which has three leaves and the flower has three dark red petals.

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Following the hike, we were off the Cedar Ridge Winery for the fermentation portion of our outing.  Cedar Ridge grows their own grapes, unfortunately, this year, the frost hit pretty hard while they were blooming and killed off about 90% of the grape crop.

 

These are the vats that are used to make the wine.  They normally use the grapes grown on the property, but will import grapes for this season.  The wine is aged the these barrels.

 

The elevated vat is used to brew beer, which is then used to make their whiskey.

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Here is their still. This was described as a "Swiss Army Knife" of stills, as it can be used to make just about any type of distilled beverages.

 

Following the tour, we had pizza cooked in this wood fired out door oven.

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yep, it's really neat to see pictures of an area you know well from someone elses camera.  Different perspectives etc.  Great pics OFG.

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