Howell Station Corps of Engineers campground near Pella, Iowa is one of our favorites, partly because of the many level trails for walking and biking. One, although not so level, even leads into Pella. The roads within the campground provide kids with safe bike riding to their hearts content. My husband says the kids remind him of the buzzards, seagulls, and bald eagles constantly swooping and circling over the adjoining Des Moines River.
From the rising mists in the early morning to stunning sunsets, the river provides constant changing vistas. A bike and pedestrian bridge leads across the river to more trails. In our group, fuel for all of that walking and biking is provided by hearty breakfasts. One traditional offering is French toast made from the cinnamon bread from Pella's Jaarsma's bakery, topped with Tom Lehman's "Heart Attack Syrup." Tom couldn't join us this year but shared the secret recipe with his cousin Ron who did the honors.
The trails wander along the river and through huge old cottonwoods maples, oaks, and other native trees. A deer always crosses the road in front of me when I don't have my camera ready. One trail winds down to a day use area below the dam. Another goes to the Ivan Marion campground.
By the end of the day, we are ready for another hearty meal, a campfire, and sunset watching. It was a great week. However, yesterday afternoon, in the face of an empty fresh water tank and a forecast of all day rain today--which doesn't appear to be materializing--we decided to forfeit our last night and head home. With no camping plans in the next couple of weeks, there will be time for laundry, unpacking, yardwork, and other projects. But a few days at Howell Station helped to recharge the batteries.
Some random thoughts about writing, camping, and eating.