Hike Around Upper Pine Lake

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We decided to take the trek around Upper Pine Lake.  

The trip started with a detour down a steep trail and a rickety ladder to take a look at one of our favorite spots on the Iowa River.

Then, we went on to Pine Lake, 
starting on the same nicely paved trail we used to walk around the lower lake.

The upper lake was beautiful with autumn colors.
We glanced at the spillway, which was still dry as a bone, and then headed up this path

(My parents)

Until we came to a fork in the road

The right path leads around the lower lake, and the left path leads to an adventure around the upper lake, so we chose the upper lake.

The going was still easy...a leisurely stroll on a decent path...but it was only a decent path for a while.

Remnants of an old bridge

To cross this bridge we would have needed wings.  
Fortunately for us, though, the water was gone too.  This is what our path looked like next:

If you can't see the path, I can't blame you

We ran down some hills (slid down the ones that were too steep) and crawled up others.  We also spotted about 4 deer.

Finally, we saw the rock dam which keeps silt from the stream from flowing into the lake.
There was some talk of walking across the rock dam like we did this winter.  But the decision was out-voted by the majority of people, who were not interested in getting their shoes and socks wet.

We left the woods behind and reached a dilemma.  How were we to cross the stream that feeds the lake?

The answer:

Jump onto an over-hanging tree branch and walk over!

There was a SPLASH...and it's a good thing there are no piranhas around.

Our courageous scout accidentally slipped into the creek just as he was landing on the other side.  He jumped out of the water, dripping wet from the waist down. 

I waited to see how the others would fair; with my brother's help on the other side, everyone made it safely.  So, I crossed second to last...

and, fortunately, I made it without mishap.

  A dinosaur egg?  Nope, it's a  mushroom.

Our path became less than pleasant on the other side of the lake.  We had to stoop to get through brush, and sticker bushes and cockle-burs wouldn't let us forget their presence.   

But the fun wasn't over yet.  Next we crossed a little swamp/wet-land.  So, everyone who didn't have wet socks yet soon had them.  I was wearing rubber boots, which I thought would keep my feet dry, but unfortunately I stepped in one spot where the water was too deep. We all faced the same fate.

We hiked through another wooded area and then came to another grass/wet-land.  This one was, except for one small stream, dry.  But we were in for a big surprise.  My brother took a step and stopped.  Not more than 6 feet away from him, a giant wild turkey jumped out of the grass and flew away.  I couldn't resist thinking what a good Thanksgiving dinner that turkey would have made.

We walked through a stretch of pine trees, over a couple creeks,and under and over dead logs, and  acquired more cockle-burs in the wood-lands and brush.
Our pathway... 

Papa found an arrow an archer had lost.  Then finally we glimpsed civilization through the trees!

Our hike was over, and we were very glad to get back to our van for glasses of water and refreshments.

   In my post "Gone Hiking: This Land is Mine" I wrote, "I know from experience that the route around the upper lake is not for the faint in heart."  Well, it isn't, but it's certainly a lot of exercise and a lot of fun.


  1. Adventure! Unpredictability! Your nature hikes sound like a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing another one with us.

  2. A great way to spend a weekend by hiking and enjoying the nature. The photos are showing us a marvelous landscape. Very nice post!