This past Tuesday I took a road trip with Paul Evan Becker to Loess Hills State Forest in western Iowa.
The Loess hills are very special and unique and provide a vastly different landscape than its surrounding areas. These hills were formed during the Ice Age when glaciers moved across North America. As these glaciers moved, the rock underneath would be crushed into a fine powder known as “glacial flour.” As a result of the glaciers melting, tons of water washed the sediment down the Missouri River Valley. When the waters receded, the silt left behind would be blown away by strong prevailing westerly winds. After many years, the silt would accumulate and would eventually form the area now known as the Loess Hills.
It’s about a two hour drive from West Des Moines to the Loess Hills, so I picked Paul up around noon that day. We grabbed lunch, bought a few snacks and were on the road! After making an impromptu stop to take the “Scenic View” detour, we arrived at the Loess Hills around 3:00pm. Upon arriving, we found that the visitor center was closed. We pulled out our own maps and decided to hike the “Preparation Canyon Unit” to reach the “Overlook” point.
After much driving around and consulting our map we finally made it to the Overlook, and boy was the view sure worth it! We walked up the stairs to the platform and could see the land around us for miles! We snapped a few photos and decided to head out to hike some trails, double checking our gear to make sure we had everything that we needed. We kept exploring and taking more photos, both of us feeding off of each other’s creativity and seeing inspiration wherever we looked.
Around 7:00pm we decided to head back to the Overlook to catch the sunset. When we initially departed for our trip, the skies were overcast and cloudy. We were unsure if the weather would allow us to get any good sunset pictures, but by the time we got back to the Overlook the skies were clear and the lighting was magical. As we sat down to eat our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potato chips, and tangerines, we were both overcome by a surreal feeling. The view was spectacular and neither one of us could think of a better ending to an already great day.
Around 8:30 the sun set and we took our last photos as the sun dipped behind the clouds for the night.
The sun had gone away, but the memories that were made this day will never be forgotten!