I’ve come to some new conclusions about these travel updates. I’ve long wondered whether I should do them, as other bloggers increasingly remove them from there sites.

But I love writing these. Introspection, creativity with writing, that’s why I started this blog. In fact, I’ve recently been inspired by a new travel blogger I’m following to start putting my personality back into my posts along with the factual information everybody wants.

So, in general I’m feeling a lot happier about writing!

Let’s get into what I did this month:

Pine Lake State Park

river in winter at Pine Lake Iowa State Park

What a delightful surprise! This park is fairly small, but incredibly lovely. It seems like it would be a wonderful place to camp. However, I have too much to see in the next couple of months so I probably won’t be headed back (keep reading to find out why!).

It’s perfect for walking a dog, but I’d say if you plan to bike your trip will be over pretty quickly.

I did try to visit two other parks in the area. One of them is fairly easy to get to – Tower Rock Park. But, it’s honestly quite boring and it is not an access point for Fallen Rock State Preserve.

I wanted to go to Fallen Rock, but I could not find a public access point anywhere. So, if you know how to get there please let me know!

Wildcat Cave is also a hike you can head to if you’re looking for more to do. I wish I’d gone here instead of walking around aimlessly at Tower Rock like a lost chicken.

Getting a New Job & Graduate School

University of Minnesota campus building

I’ve been very glum the past several months due to being in limbo. While I had taken steps to get into hobbies, it could only go so far. I was waiting to get a job, then start a job, waiting to hear back from graduate schools, then waiting to hear back on funding…it was an incredibly stressful period of my life.

However, in the space of one rainy day everything came to fruition! I got confirmation my job would start, and got confirmation that I would be receiving full funding for my MA. To say I was, and am, over the moon would be an understatement.

That means I will be moving to Minneapolis in September! I’m so excited to bring my readers along with me as I begin to explore new places in Minnesota, Minneapolis, and the two nearby National Parks.

My new job is wonderful, and a great source of funding for my travels.

Maquoketa Caves State Park

Maquoketa Iowa Caves State Park archway

A place on the top of my list since I made the decision to focus on the state parks of Iowa, I couldn’t wait for the caves to open for the season. And thus, on Easter Sunday I headed to the caves.

I’ve already published a guide to the Iowa Caves Maquoketa State Park, but the long and short of it is that it’s an amazing place to visit. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be as impressive as it is! Some of the caves are huge, some are worryingly tiny – it’s a great place to explore.

Dog friendly, well laid out, and well taken cafe of in comparison to other state parks.

I got Covid

At long last, the beast has finally struck me low. After 2+ years of being chased ’round the globe, it was perhaps the Line Dancing in my hometown that finally did me in (despite low case numbers). I don’t regret the line dancing, though 😛

I hated being cooped up inside when there are things to explore!

Luckily, it didn’t interfere too much, but it was an unfortunate way to end an otherwise fantastic April.

Where I’m Headed Next

So much fun is going to happen this May. Festivals, spring, big cities – it’s all coming up.

First, I am heading to the Amana Colonies for their May Day Festival. The Amana Colony is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Iowa (it actually gets promoted as opposed to…everything else). A Germanic village in the middle of Iowa, preserved and loved.

While it is definitely a tourist village, it’s much more authentic than others. For one, people actually live in the village still. And the buildings are real and well preserved. Heading there during the May Fest to watch the ribbon pole dancers is the perfect time for my first visit.

Second, I’m heading to the Pella Tulip Festival which is a Dutch heritage town full of gorgeous tulips and fanciful buildings.

Next, I’m not entirely sure where I’m headed but it will likely be some kind of state park. Will I finally attempt car camping? Who knows! Either way I’m excited.

Finally, I’m planning to round out the month by finally heading to Chicago! It’s been a long time in the making but I am glad that I have waited for a time when I will have more funding. It will make the experience so much easier and more fun-packed.

So, May is looking pretty bright!

Liked reading about my April activities? Check out my other posts!

hiking backbone state park trail view of the cliffs
Hiking Backbone State Park in Iowa
Caves of Kesh view from inside the cave looking at green pastoral Ireland below weeks in Ireland
Sligo Ireland, Best of the Emerald Isle

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