Sunday, July 21, 2013

SUMMER PHOTOS: Alien Visitation and High Trestle Trail

It's summer time and that means less blogging, more travel, more bike trail explorations, and lots of tending to the several gardens we have. I was watering the plants up on our newly stained roof top deck -- forgot to mention agonizing home improvement chores as well -- and discovered a flying visitor who had paused for a rest on the very top of a barren twig on one of our red maple trees.

I ran down to get my camera hoping the dragonfly would be there when I returned. Luckily it was. Quickly I took as many photos as I could. In my haste I forgot to adjust the autofocus to allow for a wider range and some of these images are blurry at the outer edges. Still, the zoom lens captured the eerie science fiction quality of this alien visitor.  Click to enlarge each image for all the detail.

We also recently returned from a biking trip to the High Trestle Trail just outside of Des Moines, Iowa. The trail is 25 miles long stretching between the towns of Ankeny at the southern end and Woodard at the northern end. Only the last 3.8 miles (Madrid to Woodard - total of 7.6 round trip) were planned since it was exceedingly hot and oppressively humid. We didn't want to kill ourselves biking a total of 50 miles in near 90 degree heat. The highlight of the High Trestle Trail is a 130 feet high converted trestle bridge originally used for a railroad back in 1912. The photos below will show what makes it so unique for both bicycles and pedestrians.

View from north end closer to Woodard looking in the direction of Madrid, Iowa.
Your mystery addicted host can be seen hiding in the shadows

Opposite side of the same entrance/exit. (Me again on the right)

Many walkers -- none of whom had flashlights! -- make for a hazard for bikers.

Decades ago this was Iowa mining country.
The lights were arranged to give the illusion of traveling through a mine.

Long shot showing the illuminated portion
in relation to the entire length of the bridge.

A few people have made videos while riding the bridge at night.  The one below led to our decision to travel all the way to Iowa and ride it for ourselves.


  1. Wow, amazing bridge, loved those photos.

  2. Happy trails John - looks great mate.

  3. Very nice photos, John! Bridges look amazing when lit up.

  4. Wow, John. This is so wonderful. I'm glad you had a chance to see this incredible bridge display in person. Who knew that Iowa had such a fascinating tourist spot? I know, I know, I'm speaking like a true easterner. :)

    But this is something I'd like to see myself. Though I can't ride a bike (never could learn) so I'd have to walk it.

  5. P.S. I love dragonflies! They look like little helicopters to me.