As I mentioned yesterday a thunderstorm spiked my computer and it may several weeks before it’s recovered so now I’m to using video game console to (tediously) post. Bur I discovered I have a few photos already uploaded I can post.
This is a segment of the Wabash Trail in western Iowa, just a short distance southeast of Shenandoah, near one access point where a local road crosses the trail. The Wabash is a 50+ mile Rails-to-Trail conversion that goes from the south side of Council Bluffs to the Missouri border. It’s a popular hiking and biking trail. Traffic is fairly heavy on the northern segment but thins out a lot by the time you reach the part in this photo. You might notice there is a small vineyard off to the right.
The trail can be quite pleasant much of the year. As an old rail-line it’s mostly flat. It has been resurfaced with crushed limestone which makes a comfortable walking surface. It drains well after rains so it’s rarely muddy. Of course the rails have been removed and the many original rail bridges have been converted to wood planks.
One nice feature is the original railroad had a wide right-of-way (presumably to keep debris falling off trains from surrounding homes and fields) so now the trail is surrounded by trees, so it’s shady (very nice in hot Iowa summers) AND despite being in the middle of intense farming (and often animals) it feels isolated from human activity, not quite wilderness but nonetheless quiet and peaceful.
As one the weird things I do do I’ve “virtual” hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I take workout miles on my treadmill and plot those on a GPS trace and use Google satphotos and Streetview to “see” the Camino. The point is that much of the is farm country not unlike Iowa, though drier, more vineyards, less corn. But that trail doesn’t have that sheltering band of green the Wabash has, and thus shade which must “fun” in sunny Spain, ouch, sunburn!
So I believe the Wabash is better. But what it doesn’t have, other than history, is overnight accommodation and only rare food and water. The Wabash is not a backpacker trail so it’s impossible to all of it without support (someone to pick you up at end of day and haul you motel for night)
So while I’ve dreamed of doing all of it I have to drive to access points, park my car and do out-and-back segments. I’ve got some posts about this in this blog but with limited posting ability (now) I can’t provide any links here. I can repost an image of my GPS trace of the parts I’ve done.
The photo in this post is that bit on the lower right.
While many people do enjoy this trail its condition has somewhat deteriorated since I first walked it 15+ years. I assume there a burst of enthusiasm, and funding, back in the 90s that has now diminished. Too bad, we need healthy exercise more ever. So I’m glad I’ve gotten to enjoy it while it lasts.