Friday, August 21, 2015

High Trestle Trail–Woodward to Madrid

If we would have checked the weather earlier on Monday morning, we would have hurried on up to Council Bluffs for a Trail I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.  As it was, we ate a casual breakfast, didn’t brake any speed limits and pulled into the parking lot in Council Bluffs in rain.

So we took off for Woodward, Iowa which is in the Des Moines/Ames area.  Woodward is no suburb, though.  I saw the town’s slogan somewhere and I thought it was a great one, “Together for a Better Tomorrow.” 

We drove out of the earlier rain, but it looked to be headed our way so we found the old depot on the edge of town where the High Trestle Trail starts.  This Rail to Trail is an Iowa State source of pride.  To quote from the literature, “This dramatic trestle is a work of art; a half-mile long, the bridge rises 13 stores, that’s 130 feet and includes scenic overlooks of the valley below.” The name is derived from the 1913 train bridge that spanned the Des Moines River.  There is a lookout and information kiosk on a portion of the original bridge.  That original bridge was replaced by the current Union Pacific Railroad bridge which was then abandoned in 2003 .  With private donations and help from UPRR, the rail to trail including the bridge was opened in 2011.




This was an awesome experience to say the least.  I read that at night the artistic covers are lite in a way that when riding under them it gives the impression of going through a light tunnel.  For me, being able to just ride across and stopping at the lookouts was enough. 

We continued on the trail to Madrid where we thought we would eat.  Monday mid afternoon is not a good time for small town restaurants.  We finally found a Subway several blocks away from the trail.  Then we got a little lost trying to get back.  We met the Mom with three young girls in town that we had earlier seen out on the bridge.  No problem, go to the post office and then down this narrow slippery dirt trail.  Nothing like local knowledge.

We rode back the way we came, once again enjoying the bridge.  The rain drops started just as we strapped the bikes on the back of the PW. 

Here is the bridge from a distance.


Kim, Marc and family lived in Ames for a while and we always talked about going to the Ledges State Park at Boone.  By the time we arrived there, it was raining in earnest.  So, after a shower in the well maintained bathhouse, we listened to it rain while we watched an hour long show about the Iowa State Fair by the local public radio station.  Tempting to go, but decided to check out the Ledges in the morning and then head to northern Iowa and what some have called the eighth wonder of the world…

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