Tammy and I met in Decorah, Iowa at Luther College. One of the attractions (for me, at least) are the beautiful natural areas in that section of northeast Iowa. There were numerous occasions that we would go for hikes and enjoy seeing cold water streams, waterfalls and trees.
We don't actually live all that far away right now - but with the combination of our farm and Tammy's job as an educator, we have difficulty taking the time necessary to visit these places as much as we might like and we certainly have not visited as often as we should.
When we were in school, Twin Springs was a nice walk from campus and was particularly enjoyable on the warm days because the spring-fed streams stay quite cool. The water is cold enough that if you soak your feet in them they begin to ache soon after you submerge them. This park area was where my family took me the first time they came up to visit me during my freshman year at college! So, I guess I have several reasons to be sentimentally attached to this place.
Many years ago, this area used to be home to a fish hatchery. By the time I arrived on the scene, the fish hatchery location had been moved to the South of Decorah.
It had rained prior to our arrival this time, so the spring fed stream had rainwater supplementing it a bit. But, even with that extra water, it remained quite clear.
And if you look closely at the picture above, you can see steam rising from the water. Even several hundred feet from the location where the water exits the ground, the water remains cool enough to react to the warmer air in this fashion.
The farmers even took a 'farmer selfie' when the sun was behind them. Yes, that's us! Hi everyone!
We were able to view some flowering plants, including the Pale Touch-me-not shown above. There were some strong colonies of these plants in the cool, damp and shaded areas we walked. These are called 'touch-me-nots' because, as the seed pods develop, they will 'explode' shooting the seeds from the pod when they are touched.
And this guy just missed getting trod upon as we walked the path. His coloring was nearly perfect camouflage. We are not sure what sort of toad this is as it appears to be different form the American Toad that we typically see on our farm. It looks a bit like a Woodhouse's Toad to me.
Towards the end of our walk - on the return trip, we saw a bumblebee checking out some Prairie Coneflower. With the sun filtering through, it felt like it was a worthwhile thing to attempt to take a photo of.
We enjoyed this trip. We should walk there again.