A Boy of the Prairie Returns

McFarland Park restored prairie

The restored prairie at McFarland Park near Ames, Iowa is full of tall grasses, pretty flowers and crazy plants.

Jen and Kathy

My friends Jen and Kathy joined me on two prairie hikes.

Other than thunderstorms and collegiate wrestling, what I miss most about the Midwest is the prairie.

Tall grasses, pretty flowers and outrageous plants cover the prairie. Little of the original remains, but I love walking through restored prairie areas. There is an inner peace the thick lush vegetation brings to me.

My current favorite prairie area is McFarland Park located just northeast of my hometown Ames, Iowa. The restoration is flourishing, and I was lucky to hike it recently on three humid August afternoons. You can hear nearby Interstate 35, but background noise does not deter from the wonderful scenery.

The park features a lake, which is really a stagnant pond, and some nice wooded trails. I forgot how ferocious Midwestern mosquitos are until I got into the woods. They force a quick pace.

My first two hikes were with good friends Kathy Gschneidner and her partner, Jen Powers. Kathy grew up with me in Ames, and they live in Colorado. The final hike was with two Stockholm, Sweden residents, my brother David, and his daughter Vendela.

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2 Responses to A Boy of the Prairie Returns

  1. CRGardenJoe says:

    I also like Iowa creek and river bottoms–where there are a few bluffs and woodlands. Never as dramatic as mountains in Washington, but there is a solitude and beauty in a stand of cottonwood or black walnut or oak trees. Some of the riverside trails in Ames are like that.

  2. Reiman Gardens! And now McFarland Park! Your photos and write-ups are making me miss good old Ames.

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