Section Hiking the Wabash Trace Trail | West Branch of the East Nishnabotna River to Strahan, IA | July 2021
On July 9, a big storm rolled through Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa. We woke up to the sound of wind howling after midnight, and Curtis got up and quickly moved our tomato plants and other items on our balcony. The storm lasted for about an hour, and the whole time all I could think about was last year’s Derecho in Iowa, how my family might have felt while it was happening, and the damage that came from it. The wind gusts “only” got up to 95 mph, as opposed to reported gusts of 140 mph in Cedar Rapids last year, and it was crazy to imagine how much louder the wind would sound in that scenario.
In the morning, the air was much cooler than it had been all week, and though we were sure there would be trees down along the Wabash trail, we decided to go for a walk anyway. This would be the only weekend available for us to section hike the trail in the month of July, and since neither us or any of our local friends had any downed trees we decided to go for it. We drove across the Missouri and found a spot to park as near to where we stopped previously at the bridge over the West Branch of the East Nishnabotna River. We started off the morning’s trek by walking the short distance West to the Nishnabotna, then retraced our steps and continued heading East.
As expected, there were many big branches scattered around, which we cleared off the trail as we walked. There were also a few fallen trees, so Curtis used his pocket chainsaw to break down the smaller ones. Besides that, we had a pleasant, solitary, and uneventful walk. We ended up going to the unincorporated community of Strahan and back, which was about 6 miles round-trip. On our way back home, we stopped in Malvern to find a new letterbox that had been planted after our last section hike. We made it back home just in time for the next storm to roll through — thankfully not as severe as the first one.
Besides this one hike, we spent a lot of evenings hanging out at nearby parks in the month of July. We also spent a morning kayaking at Prairie Queen Recreation Area, where we successfully got Charlotte to wear her adorable life jacket and ride in the kayak with us for the first time. We had tried out our new kayak together previously to make sure we were comfortable with it, and now the next step was seeing how Char would react. She rode in the middle in Curtis’ leg space. She stood there awkwardly for a bit, not sure what to do, then finally decided to get comfortable and laid down with her head on Curtis’ lap. When we were done, she happily jumped up onto the dock and came over to give me a big kiss. Hopefully this was the first of many fun paddles for the 3 of us!
The week of the 18th, Curtis’ parents came to visit for a few days. The temperature had gone back up to the 90s that week, but we managed to find things to do and stay cool. On the first night, we walked the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge at sunset and enjoyed seeing it light up, though the “light show” that supposedly happens after sunset on the Council Bluffs side never happened. We also visited the Omaha Zoo, the Joslyn Art Museum, drove around the base, the Maker’s Space in Glenwood, and let them use our kayak around Walnut Lake.
After a fun few days together, they left and headed home, and then we packed up and prepared for our next summer adventure. More on that, coming up next!