Thursday morning, we had perfect weather to check out the trails at Maquoketa Caves State Park. With 14 or 15 in the group, it was a little like herding cats. The first cave, Dancehall, has a myriad of steps down to the cave, at which point one can go left under the parking lot to the north part of the trail, or right to continue the south trail along the east side of the creek, or back up the steps to the trail on the west side of the creek. Our group did all of those things. We never saw the people again who went left until we returned to the campground.
Three of us returned up the steps to continue along the west side of the creek, occasionally glimpsing the group across the creek. Eventually we joined up again and a couple turned back while the rest continued trying to find the rest of the caves on that trail. Unfortunately, at several points one comes to a fork in the road, and we apparently took the wrong branch, ending up in a stand of prairie grass at the top of a very steep hill. Nothing to do but turn around and retrace our steps.
We had now been on our trek about two hours, and I thought Russell, a small dog who accompanied us, could surely go retrieve us some donuts--you know, like Lassie--but Russell was having none of it. So we followed the trail back on the east side of the creek, seeing the caves that some of us had missed, and eventually made it back to the parking lot, more than ready for lunch and a nap. However, it was a great morning and the scenery is unmatched in Iowa.
So far we have only had a tour of one of Serro Scottys in this group and it's a doozie. Mike and Jamie from Pennsylvania have restored this one and the craftsmanship is awesome. Mike built an inlaid table of walnut, oak, and other hardwoods, installed an antique chest of drawers with a glass bowl sink as the kitchen, and used an old headboard to partially enclose the cozy, quilt-topped bed. A copper ceiling and embossed wall covering finishes it off. We also got to see Nancy's Adirondack-styled Boler (she left her two Scotties at home in Michigan) but my camera batteries had died so I have no photos. Stay tuned.
Some random thoughts about writing, camping, and eating.