Technically no lake is visible; however, while shooting this image, I was standing on a dock on West Lake Okoboji just outside of Arnolds Park Amusement Park. Throughout the Iowa Great Lakes region this area is widely known and extremely popular during warm-weather months. This historic attraction remains one of America's oldest operating amusement parks and is beautiful day and night.
This extremely popular form of stand-up paddle surfing on generally 'flat' water has even caught on here in Iowa. Although I found several folks enjoying this sport while vacationing in tropical destinations, I must admit I was surprised to find this so popular right here at home. And, if you happen to be in the Iowa Great Lakes region and want to try your hand at balancing and paddling, just stop at any popular watersports rental spots and they will have everything you need.
Playing in the sand, jumping off the dock, swimming with friends and spending hours on inflatables in the lake seem like great ways for kids to enjoy hot summer days. And, honestly, I love to see kids engaged in outdoor activities where they are simply free to play and enjoy their unstructured time...kids just being kids.
For the remainder of the week I plan to feature images from a recent trip to the Iowa Great Lakes region in the northwest corner of the state. With summer in full swing, there isn't a better place to be, and the photos will demonstrate that. So, let's start things off with what you might expect -- boats.
Recently we spent some time in northwest Iowa enjoying the beautiful lakes and surrounding attractions. During one of my photo adventures, I inadvertently stumbled upon this beautiful artistic creation that honors the 100-year anniversary of Camp Foster, a YMCA camp located on East Lake Okoboji. To highlight the many facets of this summer camp, multiple images were painted, photographed and so on and then collectively arranged on the wall of a building that faces an alley just behind (to the east) Hill Avenue (a main thoroughfare) in Spirit Lake, Iowa. And, if you go in search of this artwork, you won't be disappointed as there are also several murals painted on nearby buildings in that same alley.
Recently a nearby town held its annual summer celebration that includes three nights of rodeo action complete with bull riding, barrel racing, Miss Rodeo Iowa and interesting entertainment during breaks in the competition. These images provide a glimpse of the performance and a look at quite a young cowboy, a 6-year-old boy in the red shirt, who had a role in the opening act. And, if you did not yet see the rodeo clown on yesterday's post, be sure to take a look at that lively character who is always a crowd favorite.
This post contains images of the Motor Mill located in northeast Iowa not far from the town of Elkader. Visitors to this site, that is on the National Register of Historic Places, can once again easily cross the Turkey River on the newly restored bridge. In addition to the bridge, a six-story limestone mill and nearby stable, other structures are present, including an ice house, cooperage and inn. If you are in the area, check it out.
Small-town summer celebrations in these parts of rural Iowa are quite common and usually include a parade and other entertainment for all ages. And, just in case you wondered what is paraded through the streets during the festivities, these photos should answer that question -- TRACTORS! Proud owners drive their new models, restored relics and more through the streets of their hometowns as onlookers hope they also toss candy toward the curb.
Despite the wet, cool conditions of spring and early summer, several folks have persevered in their work outdoors planting vegetable gardens, grooming their lawns and beautifying all sorts of outdoor spaces. Since my husband and I planted our vegetable garden in June and it is just now getting established, I was impressed with how vibrant and bold this particular plot appeared...perhaps ours will look like this in August!
"Weather means more when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans."
In various places throughout our community the local Master Gardeners do a remarkable job creating and maintaining some beautiful flower beds, including those featured in this post. I am especially fond of the teepees as they enhance the overall aesthetics as well as function. And, be sure to notice the robin perched atop one of the red poles...probably has a nest full of blue eggs nearby!
The current exhibit, Bespoke Footwear in America, at the Quigley Gallery on the Clarke University campus in Dubuque, Iowa is open through July 20. If you have the opportunity to see it, I am certain you won't be disappointed as it features some amazing shoes and boots made by artists from around the globe. Of course, the photos in today's post give a glimpse of what you will see in this delightful collection of functional and sculptural footwear.
Even though the 4th of July was a few days ago, I wanted to share a couple more shots of fireworks and an interesting image found on a local golf course. In honor of our nation's independence celebration, mini USA flags flew atop each pin. How fitting!
This photo was taken in downtown Minneapolis and, to the right, includes a reflection of the Foshay building. Recently it earned a Special Merit Award in a cityscapes competition. To view it and several other outstanding images of urban centers, go to www.lightspacetime.com/cityscapes-art-exhibition-special-merit/
If you have traveled to Yellowstone National Park in the northwest corner of Wyoming, then you understand its enormity, remarkable diversity of wildlife and varied landscapes. Truly, this place is a national treasure, and, therefore I wanted to include a couple of my favorite shots from a recent visit. The images are of the thermal features in the park's geyser basins. Specifically, the colors in these hot springs are due to light refraction, suspended mineral particles and large groups of microscopic organisms.
"A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is the earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature."
--Henry David Thoreau
Taking a look at some of the nation's beautiful scenery must include images from lakes and rivers; therefore, I selected this shot from West Lake Okoboji. This body of water (and others known as the Iowa Great Lakes region) is in northwestern Iowa between the towns of Spencer and Spirit Lake.
In honor of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday in the USA, this week's posts will feature scenes from some of our country's beautiful landscapes. Today's images are from Grand Teton National Park located in northwestern Wyoming, between the town of Jackson and Yellowstone National Park. In addition to the iconic mountain vistas, stunning alpine lakes and variety of wildlife, the Snake River meanders through the area and contributes to this amazing ecosystem.