Yesterday was a beautiful day. Humidity finally went away (just for a short time), the sun was shining, and it was a perfect day for a road trip.
I took Laura and Cole on a trip to Marquette, Iowa and the Effigy Mounds National Park. The Effigy Mounds Park was spectacular, and we arrived early after a 1.5 hour drive through some of the prettiest Iowa landscape around. Cole didn't see it, as he was passed out in the back. I guess I woke them up too early! :)
The Mounds are all on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. There are wood chip trails that take you up and around to see the mounds. Some are conical, some are in the shape of bears, and some are compound mounds--conical mounds connected together. We were lucky enough to see every one of these types of mounds. The conical mounds were built to bury the dead, but the animal mounds were usually there to establish territory. The Great Bear Mound is 137 feet long and 70 feet wide at the shoulder. You can't walk around the mounds, since they are 800-1400 years old, but once you spot them, they are everywhere! It's amazing they have survived so long.
Once we traveled up the incline, we hit the Eagle Rock Viewpoint. Spectacular views of the Mississippi River (which Cole kept calling a lake). It was peaceful, quiet, and in spite of the bugs, a place to linger.
After checking out the museum, we drove to Marquette and ate a picnic lunch sitting along the Mississippi River. By now, Cole had finally gotten his terminology correct! This from a kid who has driven across the Mississippi River countless times to visit relatives in Illinois. I guess it's a little confusing when you see it from a different place.
After lunch, as a surprise I took them to Spook Cave, which was a few short miles up the road. Spook cave is a cave that requires a boat ride and a jacket. It's a cool 47 degrees and we were prepared! The cave is accessible by boat, and you take about a 20 minute trip through parts of the cave. It's fun, and not at all scary. It was named Spook Cave by people who saw a hole in the ground and kept hearing strange noises. They asked someone to investigate, and the cave was found. There have been boat rides available since the late 1950's. Thanks to Bud for suggesting this! We went there a few years ago during a drive around Marquette and the lovely town of McGregor.
After our trip to Spook Cave, it was time to go back home. We had a great time seeing something different. There are so many fun places to go in Iowa that aren't far--maybe a few hours away at the most. The Effigy Mounds National Park was only $3.00 for me, and the kids were free. What a bargain! Laura and Cole had a good time, and were very well behaved. I blame that on waking them up out of a dead sleep at 7:30 a.m.,
and shoving a donut at them for breakfast. Oh, the fun of being an Auntie! Besides Cole's wish that he had worn all camo instead of just his camo hat ( I don't know the logic of this one), we managed to have a perfectly lovely summer day in Iowa.
I dropped them off at their house, drove home, and passed out on the couch. Those kids just wore me out! I'm not used to being responsible for anyone else but me. My sister is nuts to let me take them near a large body of water, climb way high on the edge of a bluff, and stick 'em in a boat that travels into a cave. Those kids are nuts, too! I wonder if it's a family trait?