Hiking in West Oak Forest | Glenwood, Iowa | October 2020
In the middle of October, the stars aligned for a Perfect Week of Fall: Curtis was on fall break for school, he had a very light work schedule, the colors in Omaha were at their peak, and the weather was perfect. We made the most of it by going out daily for hiking or walking around parks.
We made a point to go back to West Oak County Park near Pacific Junction, IA — a spot we visited in our first week here and knew we just had to see again in the fall. Last time we were here, we had hiked up to the ridge, turned right, and hiked a loop around the South side, so this time we turned left and made a bigger loop to the North.
There was a nice overlook along the ridge before the trail went downhill and into a valley. I don’t look at the Loess Hills and think of there being much elevation gain, but there are certainly some steeper sections that get your heart rate up. The trail was wide and easy to follow, so we continued walking confidently into the woods.
However, after about a mile and a half, the trail seemed to end at a private residence and all of a sudden we were questioning whether we were even in the park. Oh well, we were still able to get a good 3 miles of hiking in that afternoon, so it wasn’t completely a bust! Unfortunately Curtis didn’t record the entire hike on AllTrails because we weren’t expecting to take a different path and go so far, but he did start recording when we made our return — you can see that map here if you’re interested.
After our hike, we decided to drive a little further East into Glenwood, which is the county seat of Mills County, Iowa. We arrived just before sunset, and for some reason driving into town reminded me of driving into a mountain town. Maybe because it’s sort of in a valley in the Loess Hills, or maybe because our radio station lost signal as we entered the town. Who knows — either way, we drove to the courthouse in the middle of the town square and I immediately pointed out how “cute” it was. I love finding cute little town squares. We got out and took pictures of the courthouse, then made our way back home.
Little did we know that we were about to start making a lot of trips over to Glenwood! During this week off, Curtis started a new woodworking project but ran into an issue when he found the power in our garage isn’t sufficient enough to run his Shopsmith. He started researching maker’s spaces in the Omaha area, and discovered the Loess Hills Maker Space right in downtown Glenwood that is free to use and has everything he needed to continue with his project and several others! We now go there about once a week.