Hiking in Lake of Three Fires State Park | Corning, Bedford, and Clarinda, Iowa | February 2021
After a brutally cold month, the last weekend of February was absolutely beautiful. We celebrated by checking out a new-to-us state park. It had been over a month since we’d gone somewhere new or worked on our county counting goals. Honestly, I’m thankful the weather gave us a reason to stay put and rest — summer will come soon enough and we’ll have plenty of time to pursue our goals!
For this weekend, we found another trail that would take us around a lake, and we planned a driving route that would take us to three new courthouses as well as a couple places of interest. We started off this Saturday morning by driving East on US-34 into Iowa, all the way to Corning which is the county seat of Adams county.
The streets of Corning were quiet when we pulled up to the courthouse. Charlotte took Curtis on a walk around the building while I took some pictures. Once they returned, we walked around the town park across from the courthouse. We then hopped in the car and drove to the birthplace of variety host Johnny Carson, and Curtis found a letterbox here.
Next we drove South on IA-148 to Bedford for our main focus of today’s trip: Lake of Three Fires State Park. We had seen on AllTrails that there was a 5 mile loop trail that circled the lake that would satisfy our craving to hike somewhere new.
Our only concern was that all the snow melt would make this trail a muddy mess, but that turned out not to be the case — the majority of the trail was still snow-packed while the ground around it was mostly clear, and we encountered minimal muddy sections. Other than that, it was a perfect day with blue skies and comfortable hiking weather. We didn’t see any other people until the end of our hike. We did see lots of animal tracks though — mostly deer and raccoon. If you’re interested, you can check out our trail recording here.
We then drove into Bedford for our second courthouse of the day. The courthouse was located in a cute town square with brick roads and colorful murals on the nearby buildings. At this point, we were both hungry and decided that ice cream sounded great. We saw a local place on Google maps that looked good, but it turned out to still be closed for the season — I guess not everyone believes in celebrating the first 60 degree day of the year with ice cream. What a shame!
Our last courthouse for the day was in Clarinda, in Page County bringing us up to 33% complete for courthouses in Iowa. This town was much busier, but we were still able to get a few good pictures and do a short walk around the courthouse. While leaving town, we made one last stop at the birthplace of famed Big Band Bandmaster Glen Miller for a letterbox. The museum was closed, so we just admired the house from the outside. We wrapped up the day by driving East on IA-2, then North on US-59 up to US-34 for the sake of a new stretch of highway.