Exploring the Caves

Well, hello.  How are you all?

I hope all of our American readers had a fantastic 4th.  I hope all of our non-American readers had an awesome first week of July.

We had a great 4th.  I love Independence day.  It’s a holiday that it isn’t accompanied by a lot of obligations and “rules”.  You just celebrate as you please.  Nate and I decided that we would use the 4th of July for a fun day.  No housework. No yard work.  No grown-up stuff.  No “fun” activities that we do on a regular basis.  (AKA watch a movie at home, walk in town, DIY crap.  Party animals.)

We started celebrating on Wednesday night by enjoying caramel corn and fireworks by the Mississippi.  The Mississippi has flooded at least 100 times over the past two months so we didn’t have a great viewing angle. And it smelled raunchy. Eh. Still pretty.  (If you want to see all of our fireworks photos, check out our Flickr!)

4th of July 2013-50

On the 4th, we decided to hike at a park we hadn’t been to.  We decided on the Maquoketa Caves State Park. It’s about 30 minutes from our house.


We decided to take the fur ball too.  I made him take his tie off for the occasion.   He told me celebrating was his job and he takes it seriously.


We arrived at the park.  We were assuming Ike wouldn’t be allowed in the caves but the Park Ranger said he could go anywhere he wanted to go.  He might, however, come out a brown dog instead of a white one.  Ike told us “YOLO” and we headed into the park.

The trails were great. 

4th of July 2013-124

4th of July 2013-148

4th of July 2013-169

The place was beautiful.  And Ike LOVED hiking.  He smiled the entire time.  Everyone (seriously, everyone) laughed when we walked by with him.  He was hopping over downed trees.  Climbing rocks.  Loving life even more that usual.

4th of July 2013-162

4th of July 2013-193

4th of July 2013-201

In the park some kid was like “Hey, Mom.  Is this free?”  The mom said yes.  The kid was all like “Are you sure?  Because it’s fun.”  Youths.  But the kid was right.  Free and fun.

You have to crawl to get into most of the caves. My claustrophic self wasn’t really into that.  We did enjoy a few caves you could walk through.

4th of July 2013-117

4th of July 2013-236

4th of July 2013-245

We felt like we were on vacation at the park.  Probably because we hike on a lot of our vacations and we, obviously, don’t do it enough at home.  We’ve decided to check out one new place each month during the Summer and Fall.  Let’s hope being adults doesn’t hold us back!  I’m pretty sure this guy won’t let that happen.

4th of July 2013-259

Have you ventured somewhere new in your area recently?  Did you enjoy the 4th?  Does your dog smile when he hikes?