Rain to Snow

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 Road Junkies 0 Comments

LEWIS & CLARK, Chapter 3:  
IN WHICH WE LEARN THAT FALL IS SNOW JOKE OUT WEST
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Day 3
: St. Joseph, MO to Sioux City, IA  

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Leaving St. Joseph this morning, the temp was 38° and autumn was definitely in the air.  Rain and snow were in the forecast for all the areas on our agenda for today.  As we continued northward, the trees were much more colorful though we're expecting to leave fall behind and see mostly bare branches before long.  

Around 9 a.m., we arrived at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge near Sumner, MO.  Unfortunately, we were a couple of weeks ahead of the half million snow geese that stop at the refuge each fall on their migration southward.

Following Lewis and Clark's path, we hiked up and up the Loess Bluff Trail behind the visitor center.  A sign at the trailhead warned that the trail was strenuous.  Indeed it was.  The one-quarter mile took us almost half an hour to climb.  When we reached the top, however, it was well worth the effort.

From the top of the bluff (pictured above), we could see how the land beyond the river flattens out as we move toward the Great Plains.  Coming back down was only a 15-minute jaunt with no need to pause and catch our breath.  The rain began while we were on the trail, but the leaves overhanging the path served as effective umbrellas.  A month later we would have been soaked.

On our way to Nebraska, we were treated to sight filled with possibility-- a wildfire near a fireworks warehouse in Rockport, MO.  We definitely didn't stick around for the show.
   
Wildfire approaching fireworks facility in Rockport, MO
Rain followed us as we continued up I-29 parallel to the Missouri River toward Indian Creek State Park in Shubert, NE.  Lewis and Clark recorded passing a small trading post where a merchant from St. Louis traded with native tribes.  Indian Cave State Park preserves a cave with prehistoric petroglyphs, primitive art carved into the sandstone cliffs.
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Petroglyphs at Indian Creek State Park
Archaeologists estimate that these petroglyphs were carved some 1,500 years ago by nomadic people who used the area for temporary shelter as they traveled up and down the river with the seasons.

We continued following the Missouri River as it wound its way between Nebraska and Missouri (later Iowa).  Late in the morning the rain changed over to light snow.

Near the town of Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, at the site of Lewis and Clark's Council Bluff, we visited Fort Atkinson, the nation's largest and most westerly military post from 1820 to 1827.  The site is now a state historical park and home to a replica fort constructed in the 1990s. 

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Ken explores replica keelboat at Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa, IA
Our last stop of the day was at the Lewis and Clark State Park in Onawa, IA, where a full-sized reproduction of Lewis and Clark's keelboat is exhibited.  On August 10, 1804, the expedition arrived at the site of this park. They spent some time there exploring the region and making observations on the geographical conditions, plants and animals in the area.

We pushed on to Sioux City, IA, where we spent the night and where we did not encounter Sioux City Sue, though her song was sung and we conducted a perfunctory search for her.
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Miles today:  286
States today:  3 (MO, NE, IA)
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WEDNESDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2002

Autumn color near Rockport, MO
Loess Bluff Trail, near Mound City, MO
Ken takes shelter from the snow at Fort Atkinson State Park

Missouri River bridge on I-680, Omaha