Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Notes from the road, part 2
Left Milaca, Minnesota on Friday morning and headed south past Minneapolis. I've been to the Twin Cities before, so didn't feel any need to venture in, just zoomed by on one of their many expressways. There were cops on every overpass for a while, looking down. I don't know what they were looking for but I drove very politely during that stretch.
Northfield, MN. Motto: Cows, Colleges and Contentment. Home of St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges (I really wanted to go to Carleton if the money had worked out) and a Malt-o-Meal factory. The whole town smells like Malt-o-meal. Northfield was a really nice city but I especially like the countryside south of it, all rolling hills and pastures and cornfield. I arrived at the Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park mid-morning, did a bit of hiking, and collected from a maple-basswood forest that is a remnant of what this whole region looked like at one time. Spent a few hours there, then off to Iowa!
Yellow River State Forest, IA. This park is in the Driftless Area, a part of the continent that was untouched by the last few glaciations, with lobes of ice going east and west and curving around to enclose it from the south. The landscape is rolling hills and exposed limestone bluffs, owing its topography largely to the action of water, not ice. I stopped at an overlook in Marquette, IA, that was formerly the endpoint of a bridge that crossed the Mississippi; from the endpoint you get a good view of the newer bridge that crosses a few blocks to the south. I camped in YRSF next to Paint Creek, near a guy who was camping with his dog. Seeing them made me homesick but alas, no cell phone reception in that area. Made my collection on Saturday morning and moved along.