We used to joke about the Wapsipinicon River when I was young. From the time I was 8 until I turned 13, we lived in Clinton, Iowa, just north of the Wapsi on the Mississippi River.
One year in the 1960s—69, I think—there was severe flooding along the Mississippi. But, it seemed, almost every year there was some flooding along the Wapsi. It turned into an eastern Iowa cliché of the 1960s—if you flush your toilet, the Wapsi will overflow.
That’s about all I know about the Wapsipinicon. Today was the first day I’ve ever been to the Iowa state park named after the river, located where it flows past Anamosa, Iowa.
I can’t tell you much about the park, although in general, I would say almost every Iowa state park, as well as many of the county ones, that I have been in have been extremely cute. Iowa is not a state of breathtaking vistas, but in creek and river lands, where there are some hills and a few bluffs and lots of trees—walnuts, pines, cottonwood and oak—well, Iowa can have its natural charms. Sure, we could use a mountain or two. But we do have the Wapsi and some creeks that flow into it and a park named after it that was just about as great a place as you would want to be on a gorgeous October day.
Fall in Iowa can get drab and cold, but most falls feature a few days like today. It was cool this morning, but warming by the time we got to the park. I wore a warm sweatshirt, and considered taking it off, but it was cool enough that leaving it on felt all right, too.
My wife and I were there with two of our daughters and six of our grandchildren. We picnicked, played in a playground and walked a short trail to one small cave.
As the grandchildren age, it will be nice to come back to this park for longer walks on the trails.
I only saw a little of the park today, but what I saw was quite nice, in a quiet, Iowa, we-have-nature-but-it-won’t-take-your-breath-away-but-you’ll-still-think-“how nice”-as-your-grandkids-chuck-walnuts-into-a-creek-to-watch-them-float-and-hear-the-splash sort of way.
It was a coming out party for a small Nikon camera, a Coolpix that we bought a couple of years ago for my wife’s first trip to England. I took three cameras to the park—my big Nikon D3100, our newest GE point-and-shoot, and the wife’s Coolpix. The Coolpix is small, and had been lost for quite some time—months. It turns out we had placed it in a pocket of a baby buggy, and it was discovered there Friday.
Well, it was time today to get to know this camera a bit more. I shot some pictures with big Nikon, and they were nice, as expected. I also shot some, and my wife and one of my daughters shot some, with little Nikon. And I shot some video with little N, too.
Little N distinguished itself. I think it really outshines the bigger GE camera. It focuses more quickly and definitely shoots higher quality video.
Anyway, back to the park. It was a whale of a day. I started calling Amelia “Overlord,” which matches her demeanor most of the time. She proved she has the power of flight, by placing herself belly down on a swing and yelling “I’m flying!” Nobody would argue.
The other kids were in grand moods, too, as befits such a nice day. There was lots of running, playing, tossing walnuts, being scared of caves and swinging. The picnic was visited by too many aggressive bees, but not so many that it was spoiled—just made it a bit more exciting than it ought to have been.
Bees aside, Wapsi Park, little Nikon, you both distinguished yourselves.
All in all, this was a fantastic fall day.