Exploring has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Whether it be in the woods, forests and parks near my hometown to the endless road trips I’ve experienced with my family and by my self experiencing this country. Our recent Northwest Iowa road trip opened our eyes to a region of Iowa that we have spent far too little time in. The prairie is alive and incredible in O’Brien county and our constant companion, during our travels, was the Little Sioux River. It snakes its way in and out of the grasslands, timber, farmland and towns of the area and it invited our family to its banks. There’s a whole lot of Iowa out there, travelers. Here it is at its wildest.
We’re a family that loves to take the classic family pictures of Americana as we travel. As you can see it was early autumn and the warm days were still in full bloom. All the more reason to get out and see the natural splendor out home provides. The Little Sioux was running with a very swift currents and created an echo off the rocks and Iowa soil that makeup that banks of this river. Absolute blue skies surrounded the prairie during our trip to O’Brien County. We expected a great hiking opportunity when we saw the Burned Bridge Access but what we found and the story we heard was unbelievable.
A trail that went parallel with the banks of the Little Sioux for much of the showed us terrain that revealed one of the most beautiful natural river walks I’ve experienced in Iowa or anywhere. The path had long prairie grass for part of it and gave way to leafy and steep banks near the rushing water. The trees grew in patches and dangled over the Little Sioux baring their first shade of early autumn colors. The Burned Bridge riverfront was stunning and beautiful. I imagine myself coming back here again and again and have thought about the scenery and uniqueness several times since our trip. I can genuinely say that this patch of wilderness is one of my favorite areas in all of Iowa. I would find out that I wasn’t the only one that had the same fondness for Burned Bridge.
Let’s fast forward to the next day and our visit to the Prairie Heritage Center on the Glacial Trail Scenic Byway on the opposite side of the Little Sioux from where we were at Burned Bridge. Earlier in the day while looking at all our pictures I noticed something bizarre on one of them. It was on the above observation deck that I was told of a local elderly man and his favorite fishing spot.
I showed my wife the picture and we both agreed that it was peculiar and that’s pretty much where we left it. The man working in the interpretive center at the Prairie Heritage site joined me on the deck as I scanned the wide open landscape with binoculars. Unprompted he pointed to the area at Burned Bridge where we were the day before. He said it was one of the best places to fish in the area especially in the spring. He then said some years ago a couple guys showed up to see a friendly old man in a lawn chair fishing the day away. The chatted it up for awhile, somewhat quietly I imagine with fish in consideration. The old man told the strangers that it was his favorite place to fish the day away. The two men went back to their truck down the path to grab more supplies and returned to their a fellow fisherman a few minutes later to see him in his lawn chair lifeless with his fishing rod still working on catching the big one. If I had to guess I would bet that is exactly how he would want to go out. After I heard that story I asked the man telling it where exactly was he found at Burned Bridge. He said, “On the other side of the river from where we are in that patch of trees.” I showed him the picture and asked if this is where he was pointing. He said it probably was the spot where the old man was found. He then got the chills when I pointed out what could be a spiritual orb on the picture.
I love studying the paranormal and I like the idea of person possibly finding eternal peace in the manner such as this. I also believe in the afterlife and I like to think we can pick just what we want to do and where we want to be eternally. I also think its healthy to be skeptical. What do you think? Orb? Something shiny on the ground we didn’t notice when were there? I felt like this was a special place and it quickly became a spot I became attached to. I happen to think another person showed-up to say the same.