Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Maquoketa Caves State Park - Iowa

Maquoketa Caves State Park

Flashback: August 14, 2015

Maquoketa Caves State Park
10970 98th St.
Maquoketa, IA 52060
ph. 563-652-5833
fax  563-652-0061

(An hour and 15 minutes east of Cedar Rapids / 3 1/2 hours west of Chicago)

All caves in Iowa, Illinois and anywhere for that matter are subject to be closed.  Originally, we had planned to head south towards St. Louis to explore caves in Missouri.  However, and smartly, we called first to discover that all caves within hundreds of miles in that area were closed.  This is due to some Bat disease - forget the name, but not good.

Normally I just pick up and go.  I figure, wherever my road leads me to, we'll make good with it.  Fortunately though I did call and this place in Iowa was okay and legit.  However, I just checked out a website: IOWA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES and it states that:
The caves in the park will be closed from October 15th to April 15th due to bat hibernation.


 We were visiting my nieces and nephews in Peoria, IL.  I've taken this troupe camping to Matilija before and have gone on several hikes with, but they really hadn't done much since moving away from Cali.  Today's experience was cool, literally because inside the caves, the temperatures drops which is much relief from the high humidity of the Midwest.

We took the easy 1 - 2 mile loop trail.  It leads you through many easy tunnels including the icebox which if I recall is always around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  There is no need for flashlights with these tunnels but if you do wish to go crazy, the park does offer many caverns where tunneling experience and light will be required.  With our gang however, we passed on that.  However, I did journey around the loop twice with Ayden.  Reason why, first time entering into it, my wife was afraid of the tunnel, so I just kept going.  Finally, she saw that we survived it and we did not come out dirty, so she joined us for the 2nd loop.  Perhaps I got 3 miles in and slight elevation gain...
 Later that day we drove by some random animals and find a random lake.  The picture below is just next to a gun range, so best to go in with your bullet proof helmet on.

Warning: we left our phones in the car, which was unlocked.  We came down here to have a beer and picnic lunch.  I walked around the lake with the kids and when I came back to the bench, Jess asked me to go to the car, which was in sight, and grab her cell phone.  When I did, a random guy in an RV came up to me and said that some prowlers were lurking in our car.  In fact, they had our cell phones in their hands but he scared them off.  Thank goodness!  Sure enough, our phones were actually on the front seat, not in between like they had been before.  Tisk Tisk and shame on us for not locking our doors.  Man, kids, people - these days.  I suppose I understand this as when I was young, perhaps I was no angel.  Maybe Karma, but it sure seems like throughout my entire lifespan, I have had 100 fold more taken from me compared to anything that I have come up on.  Hmm, well - if you don't count sophisticated corporate crime.  lol, jk - maybe --  All I know is, hiking is free, other than the tank of gas that gets you there and the food you eat, clothes you wear.  But, these are life necessities, minus the gas, so yes, other than the occasional Park fee - Hiking is the best.  Even a non-millionaire could do it.  Not saying I'm not one - or am I?  Doesn't really matter...

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