This past week, we loaded up Sage in the truck and headed off to northwestern Iowa to visit my family (Kathleen's). My mom was recently diagnosed with appendix cancer, a vicious and little known cancer. Mom had a related major surgery about 4 weeks ago and will have another, what some people have described as M.O.A.S. (Mother of All Surgeries), the first part of November. She is feeling good so we wanted to spend some fun time with everybody before that surgery comes around. Of course we packed our running shoes intending to check out all the trails that had to weave in and around the corn and soybean fields. We Googled trails in their area and found one (ONE??????????????? How is that even survivable????????? We are so spoiled!) - the mighty Puddle Jumper Trail. It was, ahem, a 2 mile long flat gravel path that travelled between the corn and soybean fields. Seriously, though, it was a very lovely trail and we were thankful it was available for our perusal!
One of the trailheads started through this beautiful canopy of big, shady trees. After this canopy, it was out in the open bordering the corn and soybean fields. I thought the soybean fields were particularly beautiful. Everything was so green and lush compared to our dry and dusty high desert of Colorado. It was refreshing to see the green and a reminder of how dry our climate really is in Colorado. Sometimes we forget.
Did I mention we had oxygen??? We haven't been at low altitude in years. Orange City, IA sits at 1400 feet above sea level. Our house in Colorado sits at 6800 feet above sea level and we frequently go above 9000 when we head to the mountains to run, bike, and snowshoe. Coupled with the FLAT Puddle Jumper, we eeked out our fastest run average EVER!!! Even pushing it, we weren't out of breath - our problem was that our legs didn't know how to go fast!!! :-) Weird. Flat, fast, and extra oxygen - what more could we ask for? It was fun!
Here I am with our two nieces, Heidi and Gracie. We are sitting in the dark on Mom and Dad's back porch watching the fire flies. Very cool. You can see Sage peeking out from behind the girls on the bench - she didn't want to be left out! We enjoyed our wonderful visit to the beautiful (and green) state of Iowa. The endless rolling hills of tall corn stalks and the lushness of the soybeans, although not our beloved Rocky Mountains, certainly have their own refreshing magnificence. It was great to see Mom feeling well and preparing for her M.O.A.S., Dad doing well, and visit with my brother, his wife, and our sweet nieces. And don't forget, getting to sample the mighty Puddle Jumper - it made for a blessed and memorable few days!