Snowy NE Iowa – Serenity Isn’t Always Safe!

Hello and welcome to the blog.  On Thursday I took a trip north to do some trout fishing.  Having fished in the same area for many years it seemed safe enough.  But I had a little mishap that resulted in some lessons learned.  Thankfully, no harm was done.

Near Edgewood, Iowa

 

This area had seen about 8 inches of recent snow with drifting due to high winds.  The white-blanketed, peaceful scenery was nourishing to the soul.  Retracing steps taken many times before can be comforting… I just wanted to take a little chill trip and get a good night’s sleep.

 

Pedretti’s Bakery is a must visit in Elkader

Who can resist?

The first stop was in Elkader at Pedretti’s Bakery.  The place has been around forever.  Their goodies never disappoint.  The Snoopy cookie was as delicious as it looked.

A beautiful home in historic Elkader

During the 80+ mile drive north, I saw quite a few deer, pheasants, and wild turkeys.  Squirrels, eagles, and many other critters were busily searching the ice and snow covered fields looking for corn leftover from the harvest.

Bambi. This deer stood for quite a long time as I zoomed and took a bunch of pictures.

 

The Turkey River as seen from the levee.  I was fishing along that bank below.

It is about a half mile hike from the van to the that open spot on the Turkey River.  The steep embankment is normally navigable.  There was about 8 – 12 inches of snow and ice covering the bank right now.  I managed to get down to the bottom safely, though at the end it was necessary to butt slide (a 3 foot drop) off the ice shelves.  (not the safest thing to do!)


This portion of the river has almost always provided plenty of fishing fun.  Unfortunately the flow was very high due to some snow melting a week or so ago.  Nothing was biting and the water was moving so fast it kept bringing the line in to shore — even when using 6 sinkers as opposed to the normal 2.

After a couple of hours fishing without any bites I was getting chilled by the 11 degree weather and decided to exit.  The asthma was starting to kick up.  The picture below shows the various layers of ice and snow and depicts how difficult it was to maneuver.  About 100 feet down the bank, it looked easier to get back up to the top of the hill… but not so.

Layers of ice and snow.

While trying to ascend the steep incline, I could only crawl.  Every bit of progress meant crashing through the ice covered snow drifts up to 15-18 inches deep.  It was very slow going.  The lower body was not dressed for this situation (only heavy blue jeans) and the legs quickly became chilled and didn’t work well.  I had trouble breathing and the heart was racing.  It was scary because there was a chance of hypothermia and nobody was around to help.

Once I got to the top I noticed the glasses weren’t on my head….  *$&^ !!!   It took a while to get the breathing and heart rate under control.

After resting at the van, an attempt was made to find the bifocals.  I went back to the river and scaled the bank a second time but in a different spot.  It was a much longer climb but far less steep… and so much safer.  Talk about being exhausted!

 

It’s nice to see again!

 

I called the eye doctor in Cedar Rapids and had to drive 85+ miles back to get an exam and order some new glasses.  Thankfully, after vision insurance coverage the bill was only $39.90…  and there was exactly $40 left in the fishing / camping budget.

Thankfully no harm was done but it could have been a different story.  I’m not eager to go out in this darned cold weather any more this year.  If what happened was enough to make me say the heck with fishing… well… it could have easily turned out worse!

No worries…

Take care and thanks for visiting!  Happy and safe (yes, please be safe!) travels and adventures.

Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa