Waterfalls Around Decorah

Brad News

Read the news story by clicking this photo or the link on the left…

Hello and welcome to the blog.  Kitty Jesse and I just got back from a trip to the Decorah area.  I’d been longing to return to this favorite city but had been delayed by Mother Nature.

There was a pleasant surprise after hiking!  Wednesday afternoon I was ready for a nap at the city campground in Decorah.  I’d learned that Wednesday was the first day the facility had been open for the season (due to weather).  A reporter for DecorahNews.com interviewed me and took this picture of the two vancamping buddies, Jesse and I.  The news story is at the link below – or just click on the picture.  His write-up was gracious!  😀

Pulpit Rock Campground reopens

Dunning Springs Click

On Wednesday morning we had stopped on the way to Decorah and caught 5 nice trout. With stormy weather forecast for the next few days, it was best to take advantage of a sure thing before the creeks would swell.  While Jesse slept in the van, I opted to fish at Bloody Run park near Marquette Iowa.

After fishing, Jesse and I visited Dunning Springs in Decorah.  The cat loved the bubbling water but then again, he likes watching a good toilet vortex, too.  The wind was fairly calm and it was possible to run the drone right up the waterfall and view the water source from an ice cave.  Please check out the video by clicking on the picture above.  It’s one of the best videos I’ve made with the drone so far.


One of the Decorah favorites!

After visiting the first waterfall, we stopped at the “Whippy Dip” — a Decorah icon.  The Whippy Dip is one of those “Ma and Pa” ice cream places that looks like a Dairy Queen but is a lot less expensive.  For less than $5, I had an awesome barbecued beef sandwich and a twist cone.

Mal 1_Photo LinkAfter registering at Pulpit Rock, a city-run campground with wi-fi, it was time for a hike. Jesse and I headed for Malanaphy (“MAL-uh-Naf-eee) Springs, a state preserve (northwest of town) where one can hike over a hilly, rocky trail to a spectacular waterfall.  An ice cave (which has an opening in the top where it accumulates winter precipitation) drains through the bottom and into the Upper Iowa River.  Check out the brief video of the waterfall that I posted on YouTube (taken by a handheld camera) by clicking on the picture to the left.

Along the hike, I paused to view some wildflowers and fungus… also needing to catch my breath!  Man, it was hilly and slippery!  Remember that walking stick purchased a few weeks back?  It was a blessing and saved me from some nasty falls.  The stick was worth the small price paid for it.  The next investment will be a good pair of hiking boots.


Scarlet Elf Cup mushrooms… found around rotting wood and usually early in the spring.  They are said to be edible; some say they’re tasty; some say not.  In any case, they are striking!


Tril 1

The beautiful and extremely fragile trillium flower.  In many places it is illegal to disturb Trillium plants.

After the hike, Jesse and I retired to the campground where we encountered that reporter from DecorahNews.com.  We enjoyed a fine dinner of grilled pork loin (Jesse loves pork), cauliflower mash, and a jello dessert.  The cad I had a beautiful night’s sleep despite a late night hailstorm.  Thursday morning I caught one more trout; unfortunately, the streams started flooding and getting too muddy to do any more angling.

Twin Springs Jesse

“Hmmm… More fun than playing in the toilet…”  Jesse is checking out Twin Springs trout stream

It’s amazing that we fit so much into a 24 hour journey.  The trip seemed enjoyable for Jesse.  He’s not thrilled with riding in the van but loves to explore outdoors.  Once pacing and howling after dark, he now cuddles, purrs, and sleeps next to me all light long.  Something tells me that Jesse will be having many more opportunities to ride along on future camping adventures.

What’s up next?  I’ve got a couple days off next week so we’ll see where we end up.  It’s that time in Iowa where morel mushrooms will start to show up.  The water is also warming nicely and I live close to some great catfishing holes.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great end to the week!

Brad, Serena, and Jesse James
Jones County, Iowa … and beyond!

Brad B Jesse driving

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

2 Responses to Waterfalls Around Decorah

  1. Jo says:

    WOW I know a celebrity 🙂 looks like you had a great 24 hr trip can’t wait to see where you go next week

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks Jo. I don’t know for sure where we will end up but it’s pretty much guaranteed it will happen. I just finished the first of five “graveyard” shifts. They’re the hardest by far. But it’s a fun job and there’s nothing wrong with that! Have a great week and thanks for reading. Serena will probably go along this week. 😀