Exploring Story County Trails-Hike #34, #35, and #36.

McFarland Park, Ames, IA-HIKE #34 September 17th, 2017


Back in September, life was busy and it was hard to dedicate a full or half day to drive somewhere far to hike so we decided to stay close to home for our hiking adventures and decided to explore some of our local county parks.  Hike 34 brought us to McFarland Park, located in Ames, IA.  We picked this park because it has quite a few trails and is located just off the interestate which made the location right on the route home for my parents who were visiting from MN.


We set off through the prairie and made our way to the Touch-A-Life Trail which is a paved trail that winds it’s way around a small lake.  It was nice and relaxing and there was even a swing to sit on and enjoy the view of the lake.

After looping around we ended back up in the prairie.  We have hiked quite a bit in the prairie and it was fun to hear Elsie rattle off the identification of some prairie flowers that I have taught her throughout the season.  It is rare for her to walk by a cup plant without letting us all know she’s found it-even is the flowers are gone and the plant is nearing the end of it’s season.

And of course, Elsie and I had to take a picture for the challenge-Hike #34.  I remember when we started the challenge we were hoping to get around 30 hikes.  IMG_5797

After the hike, my parents left and we headed over to a play area at the park.  The girls could have spent so much more time here then we allowed.  The area was built out of mostly natural elements.  These xylophones were a huge hit!

Hickory Grove County Park-Hike #35 September 23rd, 2017


The following weekend we camped at Hickory Grove Park. The best thing about this park is that it is close to home and close enough that our oldest daughter to still attend her soccer game.  There aren’t a lot of miles of trails in this park but just enough for the girls.

As we were hiking, we came across the goats that the County Conservation Department uses to help tackle invasive species.  The girls thought it was neat to see the animals.  And they are really doing a great job of clearing the leaves off of these plants.  The goats come from a local farmer and they have been in partnership for seven years now.

Robison Wildlife Acres-Hike #36 September 24th, 2017


The second day of our camping trip to Hickory Grove, we hit up another local county park a few miles from the campground. Robison Wildlife Area is a park that has hiking trails, and youth group supervised camping area, and a small lake (which is currently drained and they are working on it).  We hiked this trail back in January with a group of friends.  You can read about it here.  We wanted to hike it in the summer when everything was leafed out to have a different experience of it.  And boy did we get an experience.  The first part of the hike was great, it was on a mowed path and it was nice and wide. IMG_5921

But as we continued on, the mowed path ended and the trial quickly became overgrown. Elsie called it “ridiculous”. HaHa.  There was poison ivy lining the path and there were thorns criss-crossing the trail and we all came out covered in burrs, well everyone except Evie who was in the carrier.


Thank goodness we didn’t have Tally with or we would be still picking burrs out of her coat.  After tears and laughter, we headed straight to Walmart to pick up some Poison Ivy wash and thankfully, none of us developed it.  Lesson learned-always wear pants.


We still enjoyed the hike and I did contact Story County Conservation regarding the trail condition.  I participate on the rare occassion on the trials advisory committee and it  was addressed at the next meeting.  I guess I wasn’t the only one to let them know that it needed a little maintainance.  Overall, we enjoy this trail, it is close to home and a good length for the girls.

I am so thankful for these trails that are available for us to use.  Since we completed these hikes in September, we have hiked on a few more occassions at McFarland Park and really enjoy everything that park has to offer.


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