Indian Burial Grounds Trip


The Mississippi River looking south toward Marquette, Iowa

Hello and thanks for stopping by today!  We’ve had wonderful weather for this time of the year with highs in the upper 70s and low humidity.  Being Iowa, that is rapidly changing but for a brief period it was possible to enjoy a short trip north.  The destination is one I’d wanted to visit for some time – the Effigy Mounds National Monument.

On Wednesday, I paused on the way up to do a little trout fishing at a familiar place – Bloody Run park in Clayton County (near Marquette, Iowa and Prairie du Chiene, Wisconsin).  After catching four nice trout at a remote location, the stocking truck came along and threw in about 30 more fish!  It didn’t take long to catch that last one.  From there it was on to the hike at Effigy Mounds.

Burial MoundThe monument is a sacred burial ground consisting of over 200 burial mounds used by native Americans in ancient rituals.  The mounds themselves were in a number of shapes including animals.  The most common forms were humps, sort of like half of a cantalope melon.  There were two that were made to look like bears.  Unfortunately, it was difficult to photograph the bear shape from the ground and the dense forest prevented sending the drone up.

There are wonderful trails of varying lengths that allow a person to explore and learn at his or her pace.  I chose a two hour hike that climbed about 450 feet – the height of a 40 story building.  The trail was well maintained and had a lovely carpet of wood chips making it soft on the feet and allowing for excellent traction.  It was quite the workout but doable for all but the frail.  I recommend the park to anyone visiting the area.  The view from above is spectacular!

1_A LifeFollowing the hike, the old bones were pretty darned tired.  The feet already walked 2 miles or so while fishing and then another rigorous hike on top of that was more than enough.  Rest was needed ASAP.

Primitive camping occurred at the lower end of Bloody Run Park just a few miles from Effigy Mounds.  The fee was a reasonable ten bucks and the park was empty… other than a few fishermen at the stream.  Parked under a tree and with an already full battery bank, who needs electricity?  I fell asleep in the chair while sipping diet ginger ale as a cool breeze swept over the area.

Supper _ Bloody Run2Supper was prepped ahead.  The cornbread on the right was made in the mini bread loaf pan and frozen a week or so ago.  It contains prepared Jiffy corn muffin mix, cheese, and some diced jalapeno pepper from the bush in my yard.

The appetizers on the top were heavenly.  They were made with jalapenos from home (split lengthwise and cleaned out).  Then I added some veggie cream cheese and wrapped them in bacon.  After cooking on the grill, I dipped them in the dark stuff – a jam consisting of red raspberries and blackberries.

The skewers were also made ahead… I’d deboned some chicken breasts and soaked them in teriyaki sauce in a bag before leaving home.  One word of advice… Buy the best teriyaki sauce.. the kind with sesame seeds, garlic, and onion included.  It’s about $3.50 a jar but it’s amazing!  You can find it at Walmart.

oregano trout

Trout with lemon and oregano.

Dinner sure put my lights out.  Even though I was sleeping near train tracks, the noise didn’t bother a bit.  The park provided a blissful sleep – definitely a “must do” again this year – perhaps during one of the fall leaf viewing trips.

The next morning I ended up catching the limit of trout in about 75 minutes, including one beautiful brown trout.  The new favorite way to fix them is by cramming them full of fresh lemons and oregano from the herb garden and then cooking the fish in foil with olive oil.  Jesse prefers his with just a little olive oil and salt.

Things at home are returning to normal;  I’ll be heading back to work toward the beginning of the month.  This job has a lot of potential, is closer to home, and pays better.  It’s in an area where I have a lot of expertise and passion.

For now take care and enjoy the summer while there’s still some left.  For those traveling with a significant other, I can only envision how much fun it is to share the adventures.  Have tons of fun and safe travels!

Bradford and Jesse James
Jones County, Iowa



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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"

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