Thursday, August 4, 2011

High Trestle Bridge

Our home air-conditioner has been on for 40 consecutive days. Based on that, you probably find it difficult to believe that we're really "let's-open-windows" kind of people. We've had our a/c on for that long because of our extreme heat and uncomfortably high dew point. The dew point is what makes the heat feel hotter, making the "heat index" the true indicator of how hot we feel. 
Dew points are downright oppressive when they are over 75 degrees F. 
For the past few weeks the dew point has been hovering in the mid-70s, so when Wednesday's forecast was for a high temperature of only 88F (30.5C) with a dew point in the mid-60s, we planned an outing to the High Trestle Bridge. It's in Madrid, Iowa, a small town 35 minutes northwest of Des Moines. By the way, Madrid is not pronounced like the city in Spain, but rather as MAD-rid.

In Madrid we parked in a city park near an access to the High Trestle Trail.  It was a pretty day with clear blue skies and a light breeze. The paved trail is a real attraction to bicyclers. During our 4.87 mile walk (round trip), we frequently heard calls of, "On your left!" as they cheerily let us know they were coming up behind us.

It was just great to be outdoors, taking in the scenery.
I'd heard that algae has been rampant this summer. I'd say so!

Butterflies were flitting everywhere, and always around these pink wildflowers.


I don't often see indigo buntings. They fly so quickly that even though this one is somewhat hidden by the tree, I was happy to get a picture.

Along the trail, every 1,000 steps there's a sign with a different quote.

This is the start of what we walked so far to see, the new High Trestle Bridge Trail that opened in April this year. Veins of coal are in these structures that stand at each end of the 1/2 mile-long bridge. Until 2003, railroad tracks that were here were owned by Union Pacific Railroad, and it was coal that was often transported.

Signage says: "This is one of the largest trail bridges in the world."
That's my husband standing on it, 13 stories above the Des Moines River.

Here we're looking north at the Highway 210 bridge with a truck traveling over it.

For a state with both rolling hills and flat expanses of land, this is a great view. We can't wait to return in the fall when the trees along the river's edge will surely display beautiful colors.

After spending a couple hours on the trail, we drove to Saylorville Reservoir. Under a shade tree at Cherry Glen we settled in our bag chairs with our picnic lunch and this view. Nice.

Doris, also in Iowa, recently wrote a blog post titled Exploring in Your Own Backyard. Looks like she and I have been thinking alike! Though I don't have any quilts to show you from my trip as she does, I'd say that exploring places like these fill us with Iowa pride. Next up... August 11-21, our Iowa State Fair. "Nothing Compares!" 

Oh, and with the temperature change we've now turned off our a/c, have the windows open, and I'll be using my oven again. Yay! I've missed having homemade granola with my morning yogurt. Linda

8 comments:

  1. So sorry about the trying heat you've been experiencing there. You must have been very glad of the change and (relatively) cooler temperatures so you could get out and appreciate the summer sunshine. What beautiful countryside, and such a serene place for your picnic, Linda. Looking forward to hearing ALL about the Iowa State Fair:-))

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  2. It's cooler here today finally...and raining! Woo Hoo! What a great bridge, I'd love to see it. The flowers are wild Bee Balm, I think. Aren't the Indigo Buntings pretty? I have a few at my feeders every day lately.
    Thanks for the tour of your "backyard", Linda!

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  3. You and Doris are making me want to take a field trip or two! What a beautiful trail and a great historical turned modern-day luxury for your area. Great post!

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  4. Ah, I really do miss fall in Iowa! You are 100% correct, the colors are spectacular! There were billboards up for the Iowa State Fair in Omaha last weekend, made me laugh (but no more Butter Lady :( )

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  5. I have been wanting to get up here since it opened! Maybe this weekend it will be pleasant enough to venture out!

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  6. The walk you took seems really nice and I'm glad your heat wave came to an end. Here in Switzerland we have very changeable and wet weather, but we also needed the rain but in between when the sun comes out I'm able to go swimming!
    Now I'm waiting to hear from the Iowa State fair and what kind of ribbon your quilt will win.
    Edith

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  7. Your outing looks like it was a lot of fun! The bridge looks very interesting and a neat way to get some exercise.

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  8. The weather all around the world seems to have gone crazy. Here in Auckland -NZ. we are in our Winter, and we have had rain like you wouldn't believe and not cold, although we have been lighting the fire just to keep the house snug and dry. Love your trip, it's so nice to get out walking isn't it!

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