Homer's Travels: Hiking Iowa: Wabash Trace Nature Trail - Strahan To Imogene

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hiking Iowa: Wabash Trace Nature Trail - Strahan To Imogene

On this year's Earth Day I celebrated on another segment of the Wabash Trace Nature Trail.  Like last week I hiked with a backpack.  This time I carried my new camera, lens, and bag (4.4 lb vs 1.9 lb of my old camera).  I also added five pounds of weight in the bag (I used weights from my adjustable ankle weights).  My load was about about 17.4 lbs total which is about what I was hoping to carry on my Spain pilgrimage.

I started in the town of Imogene, a small town of 66 described as 'Historic' by my Garmin GPS.  It turns out the town is rather substantial for a small town.  They only have a couple businesses including the obligatory bar-lounge and a fairly large catholic church.  The town appears to have an Irish heritage as there were shamrocks all over the place and the bar was named the Emerald Isle.

I put on my backpack and, initially, was concerned how heavy it felt (I can be a wimp at times) but after starting to walk the sensation of weight faded away and didn't bother me at all.

I was amazed how everything had greened up since last week.  Spring is arriving at full speed.  I took pictures along the walk with my new camera and really liked how it felt.  Unfortunately the Wabash Trace looks fairly identical from beginning to end - at least on the segments I've completed so far.  I've found I have been taking pictures that I've already taken before.  Photographically I feel I've been in a slump lately and the rather monotonous but beautiful spring scenery along the trace has not been that inspiring.  After reading GeekHiker's post about wildflowers, I was reminded about hiking trails lined with poppies in California.  Here in Nebraska it's more likely that the trails are lined with dandelions. 

There was one bright spot on this hike, lots of wildlife including a couple firsts.  Most of the wildlife was trying, and succeeding, in scaring the bejeezus out of me as they jumped out of the underbrush or trees.  Lots of birds including wild turkey, pheasant, red wing blackbirds, and a first for me, an owl.  I didn't get a picture as I was a little startled when the thing flew past me.  I saw a few deer and, another first, a coyote on the trail.  I've heard coyote before and I saw one from the car in Yellowstone back in '95 but this was my first on a trail I was hiking.  While I got his picture he didn't bother to pose so it's a little blurry.

At my turn around spot, the town of Straham, I decided to see if there was anything along the main road.  Last week I stayed on the trace and didn't actually enter the town.  I didn't really miss much.  There is a small United Methodist church and a closed business that may have been a mechanics shop way back when.  I stopped at the church and sat down on a short block wall (The church was too small to have steps to sit on).  I rested there for a bit and admired the gravestone-like markers showing the location of two time capsules buried in 1984 to mark the centennial of the town (or possibly of the church).  One capsule is to be opened in 50 years, the other in 100 years.

I started on the way back and I watched for two things I'd missed on the way out.  The first is the town of Solomon.  Solomon is similar to last week's White Cloud - there ain't anything there.  The only thing marking the location was an overpass where the road went over the trace.  The second thing was a geocache ("Wabash Geocache #1") which I found about a mile north of Imogene.

I got back to the car and dumped my gear in the trunk.  I drove up the hill and took a couple pictures of Saint Patrick's Catholic Church before heading home.  My hike was 13.8 miles.  Pictures taken with my new camera have been added to my 2009-2013 Wabash Trace Nature Trail Hike Google Photos album.


  1. I got a few pictures of herons. It's a far cry from *stealing* a picture of a coyote though. Blurry but good.

  2. I know how you feel about that photographic stump my friend, believe me...

  3. Godefroy: Thanks. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this guy on the trail.

    GH: It sucks New camera + Slump = Sucks