Saturday, July 25, 2015

Touring the Loess Hills of Iowa

"Situated along Iowa's western border, the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway passes through a unique land formation that is up to 15 miles wide and about 200 miles long from north of Sioux City, Iowa to near St. Joseph, Missouri.

They are hills made almost entirely of windblown soils. Toward the end of the last ice age, winds picked up soils that had been ground as fine as flour and formed dunes along the ancient waterway that became today's Missouri River. The process repeated itself during the thousands of years the ice age took to end, enlarging the dunes. Because the prevailing winds were from the northwest, the dunes on the Iowa side of the river were higher than those west of the Missouri.

Today, the definition of a Loess Hill is a hill made of loess that is more than 60 feet in height; using that definition, about 640,000 acres of land in western Iowa constitute the Loess Hills landform.

Although deposits of loess are found across the world, nowhere else but China are those deposits higher than they are in Iowa."

If this sounds like a brochure, it should. The Loess Hills are hard to explain so I borrowed the information from the Loess Hills Brochure.

At the Hitchcock Nature Center in Northern Pottawattamie County

Overlook Tower

        Hiking on the Board Walk at the Hitchcock Nature Center

A Look at the Loess Hills

The Lodge

A view of the Loess Hills

The soil is really light and soft but yet it is 
able to maintain sharp ridges

Lee climbing an overlook tower

Rest Area

Inside the Hitchcock Nature Center

Lots of corn planted in the Loess Hills

We ate lunch at a little cafe in Pisgah and these Porsches all lined up across the street. Must be another car club on the move!

Our next stop was the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook.

Then we took a quick look at Preparation Canyon State Park.  It isn't very large, at least the area you can drive on isn't!  It is just one loop around. 

Just outside the park, you could see the gorgeous cloud formations that we saw today.  They were just awesome.

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