Homer's Travels: A Spring Day's Exploration

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Spring Day's Exploration

I went for a hike yesterday.  It was the second of the week and it was awesome.  I'd kept my first hike of the week relatively short (10.5 miles - 16.9 km) since I was still recovering from a cold and from some of the aching muscles I got from curling.  I felt pretty good after that hike so on Friday I decided to push it a bit more.

My plan was to do a 12.5 miles (20.1 km) walk through Council Bluffs, IA.  I would start from the Nebraska end of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and walk to Fairmount Park located on a hill overlooking the city.  The day was perfect for a hike with temperatures nearly reaching 68°F (20°C), the lightest of breezes, and without a cloud in the sky.

Fairmount park is a nice little park tucked up on the top a section of the loess hills that pass through Council Bluffs.  There are areas for picnickers and a lookout point.  I entered the park and headed over to the lookout. As I got there a car pulled up.  I looked over to see who was joining me when I saw the driver of the car lean over to whisper in the passenger's ear ... or maybe she was kissing him ... or maybe it was going a bit farther.  I decided that I would let the lovebirds have some privacy and I turned and walked away instead of enjoying the view.  This didn't bother me much as the view from the lookout is not the most impressive, overlooking a mostly industrial and commercial part of Council Bluffs.

I decided to explore more of the little park.  I followed a trail that appeared to lead out of the park.  The trail took me to a trailhead that I'd seen on other walks and had always wondered where it went.  I use the term trailhead loosely as I don't think these trails are official but they do appear to be well traveled.  I'll have to go back someday and explore a few more of the trails that wind around the park.

As I was nearing the park exit I saw a sign for the Fairmount Lodge.  I turned and followed the sign up a road I'd seen a few times before but never followed.  The road climbs a short hill, the only type of hill we have in these parts, and arrive to the "lodge".  The lodge was a half buried affair, the roof being a railed in patio.  Under the patio was a room that would have been used for either a food stand or tables for indoor parties.  At one end of the room were bathrooms.  At least, that is what it once was.  Three of the four doors were barred.  The last may have been sealed at some point but was now open.  I went in and found graffiti covered ruins

Revolutionary Graffiti ... In Ruins.
I have always been a bit fond of ruins.  There is always an aura of mystery.  What surprised me most, really, was the type of graffiti. Beside the usual anarchy symbol was an hammer and sickle, kind of unexpected in such a conservative part of the country.  Other slogans talked about "Red Revolution" and "Worker Power". None of the graffiti was particularly artistic.  Pictures of the "lodge" can be found here.

Red Revolution ... On Yellow.
I headed back out of the park and made my way back to the car, stopping first for an unhealthy, but yummy, lunch at Arby's.  I ended up walking more than I had planned.  I think the gorgeous spring weather encouraged me to wander a little more than I usually do.  I ended up doing 14.2 miles (22.8 km).  The important thing is I felt pretty good after the walk.  I think I can call this cold ... and Winter ... officially over.


  1. I want to clean it up..yes I do! What a great walk. I hope winter is really over!

    1. Miss McC: No ... you do not want to clean it. It's filth is its charm.

      I hope so too.

  2. Urge to clean...rising... okay okay, if you insist. I just may never look at this pictures again :)

  3. It just needs a little work...