Part 2 - Road Update - Prairie City through Rutland (Updated June 10, 2021)

While on the road, the focus remains on racking up miles and viewing sites. However, daily updates go out on the ‘Notes on Iowa’ social media pages. For those of you who don’t use social media, brief daily updates for the first seven days of Part 2 below.


Thursday, June 3, 2021: Notes on Iowa headed from Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge to Yellow Banks Park, bringing the total mileage for the 2021 walk across Iowa to just over 150 miles following the 1835 Iowa Dragoons Expedition.

Friday, June 4, 2021: Notes on Iowa headed from Yellow Banks Park to downtown Des Moines, bringing the total mileage for the 2021 walk across Iowa to just over 160 miles following the 1835 Iowa Dragoons Expedition.

Spying Des Moines over a hilltop made me wonder what the Dragoons thought as the expedition reached the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers. The Fort site today features a rebuilt cabin, a DAR Dragoon Trail maker, and HILDE DEBRUYNE ART & DESIGN’s wonderful mural “The Birthplace of Des Moines.”

The southeastern part of Des Moines, a largely industrial area along the river, offered many interesting sights and smells. The current deconstruction of grain storage at the Cargill location provided quality entertainment along the day’s route.

Saturday, June 5, 2021: Notes on Iowa headed from downtown Des Moines and on through Saylorville to Big Creek, bringing the total mileage for the 2021 walk across Iowa to just over 175 miles, a celebratory number as in 2021 Iowa celebrates 175 years of statehood. Also, the halfway mark for the total Notes on Iowa journey to follow the 1835 Iowa Dragoons Expedition.

Followed the Neal Smith Trail for around twenty miles and saw a lot of interesting things along the way including remnant damage from the historic 2020 Derecho, a Forester travel trailer (originally manufactured in Forest City, Iowa), 80/35 bridge construction, native species of wildflowers, the legacies or huge public works projects focused on conservation, and even a few pelicans under the Big Creek State Park Spillway.

Sunday, June 6, 2021: Notes on Iowa headed from Saylorville Lake (Big Creek State Park) and on into beautiful Boone County to Ledges State Park, bringing the total mileage for the 2021 walk across Iowa to just under 200 on the journey to follow the 1835 Iowa Dragoons Expedition.

Sites included the “Dragoon Field” where the expedition camped (today, Mitigwa Scout Reservation), the Kate Shelley museum/bridge, and one of Iowa’s most beautiful state parks!

Monday, June 7, 2021: Notes on Iowa headed from Ledges State Park across the Des Moines to Moingona and on through beautiful Boone County, Iowa to Don Williams Recreation Area, bringing the total mileage for the 2021 walk across Iowa to just over 210 miles on the journey to follow the 1835 Iowa Dragoons Expedition.

Sites included on the walk and after included the Kate Shelley Railroad Museum, a lot of hot gravel, a bridge marked by the ‘Boone Goonz’ (who I suppose didn’t mean Dragoonz), Milton Lott Gravesite, DAR Dragoon Trail Marker #8, and the Boone County Historical Society Iowa.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021: Notes on Iowa headed from Don Williams Recreation Area and out of beautiful Boone County to Dolliver Memorial State Park, bringing the total mileage for the 2021 walk across Iowa to just over 230 miles on the journey to follow the 1835 Iowa Dragoons Expedition.

Sites included a lot of rural gravel roads, a friendly dog, Dayton, Iowa, Lehigh, Iowa, the confluence of the Boone and Des Moines (where the 1835 Dragoons headed northeast, before eventually returning to descend the river), and Iowa’s second oldest state park!

Wednesday, June 9, 2021: Notes on Iowa headed from Dolliver Memorial State Park and through wonderful Webster County to Kennedy Park, bringing the total mileage for the 2021 walk across Iowa to just over 250 miles on the journey to follow the 1835 Iowa Dragoons Expedition.

Sites included the The Fort Museum and Frontier Village, pathways through Fort Dodge, Iowa along the Des Moines, the Guido van Helten grain silo mural (drone footage to follow), the grave of Fort Dodge founder William Williams, two more DAR Dragoon Trail markers, and the start/end of the Iowa Department of Transportation Dragoon Auto Trail (although I started, like the 1835 Expedition at Montrose, Iowa, and will continue north to parts unmarked). Tomorrow we head up through Dakota City, Iowa and Humboldt, Iowa to Rose Mill.

June 10, 2021: Notes on Iowa headed from Kennedy Park out of wonderful Webster County and to Rutland, Iowa, bringing the total mileage for the 2021 walk across Iowa to just over 275 miles on the journey to follow the 1835 Iowa Dragoons Expedition.

Sites included Dakota City, Iowa, Humboldt, Iowa, the confluence of the east and west branches of the Des Moines River at Frank Gotch State Park, and the Three Rivers Trail. Tomorrow we head up and out of Humboldt County as we go from Rutland through Bradgate, Iowa, cross into Kossuth County, and close Part 2 of the 2021 expedition at the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa.


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