Author Archives: Teressa Clark

Field Trip: High Trestle Trail Bridge

This is not a trestle bridge. In the early 1970s it replaced a 1912 high trestle bridge for the Union Pacific Railroad (which had replaced an even earlier bridge). Abandoned as a railroad bridge in 2003, it is now part of the 25 mile High Trestle Trail in central Iowa.

The entrances on either end of the half mile long bridge are marked by towers that “speak to the cutting and slicing from natural sources that formed” the Des Moines River valley. (From signage along the bridge.) The dark rocks in the structures are a nod to the coal seams in the land and the coal mining history of the area.

Supported by 22 concrete and steel piers, the bridge stands 130 feet (13 stories) above the Des Moines River. Being able to see the wider base of the piers is an indication the river is really low – not a good sign in mid-June.

Its height is one thing. But it was the addition of twisted steel framework that made the bridge notable.

43 steel cribbings are sculptural forms that embody the coal mining history. The changing geometry of the cribbing radiates around you. The viewer moves along the path as though moving through history, through the tunnel of a mine.

– From a sign along the bridge

The previous two pictures are looking toward the western end of the bridge. The next two are shot toward the eastern end.

For more information about the bridge, click on the following links:
Iowa Virtual Museum: High Trestle Trail Bridge – shows pictures of the early effort to convert the bridge from abandoned railway to a bicycle and pedestrian trail;
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation: High Trestle Trail – provides a history of the bridge and the rails to trails effort and shows a picture of the bridge lit by blue LED lights at night.

CMMC June Color – Yellow

“Oh! Hello!” The goldfinch at my home office window was a surprise five years ago. This picture of Iowa’s State Bird was taken through the windowpane glass.

Compared to the goldfinch, the yellow perch on the birdfeeder looks almost orange! It tended to attract house finches.

April visits to Reimann Botanical Gardens yielded more than a few photos of yellow daffodils and yellow tulips. Other yellow flowers were in bloom in early June.

My Aunt Clara has addressed the challenge of growing flowers in the Arizona desert by decorating her fence with a variety of “sunflowers” – found round objects painted yellow.

Posted in response to Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge June Color – Yellow. Click here to see Cee’s pictures and to find links for other responses to this challenge. It’s likely to make you smile.

CMMC June Close-Up or Macro Photograph

One of my early thoughts for Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge June Close-Up or Macro photo challenge was a picture I took of the bark on a palm tree. But it wasn’t as interesting as I remembered. So I set out this morning to photograph the bark on trees along my usual walking path. (No palm trees here in central Iowa!)

Leaves growing directly from the trunks of trees caught my attention on the way home.

The spider on the underside of the leaf in the next photo was serendipitous. (Don’t worry, Cee, it’s the only one with a bug in this week’s collection.)

Finally, one set of leaves in the sunlight shown from two different angles.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

“Know the Power that Is Peace” – Black Elk. Visitor Center, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
Custer National Cemetery, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. South of Hardin, Montana.

Rows and rows of white headstones, often with an American flag carefully placed at the base of each one, are a common image on Memorial Day Weekend here in the United States. This morning – Memorial Day – I found myself thinking about my visit to Little Bighorn National Monument early in May and realized I had photos of rows and rows of white headstones.

Custer National Cemetery, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Looking toward the Bighorn Mountains.

Away from the cemetery are gravestones to mark where men fell in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn was fought along the ridges, steep bluffs, and ravines of the Little Bighorn River, in south-central Montana on June 25-26, 1876. The combatants were warriors of the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes, battling men of the 7th Regiment of the US Cavalry. The Battle of the Little Bighorn has come to symbolize the clash of two vastly dissimilar cultures: the buffalo/horse culture of the northern plains tribes, and the highly industrial/agricultural based culture of the United States.

Context & Story of the Battle, https://www.nps.gov/libi/learn/historyculture/battle-story.htm
Hillside of Custer’s Last Stand

I grew up in eastern Montana and knew of the battle as “Custer’s Last Stand” – a terrible defeat for the cavalry.

Part of the Battlefield

But for the warriors who were defending their homeland, it was a great victory.

“That night the Lakota men, women, and children lighted many fires and danced; their hearts were glad for the Great Spirit had given them a great victory.”

– Etched on the Indian Memorial, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
A Great Victory
The Warriors

“An Indian memorial to honor Native American participation in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, June 25-26, 1876, and to change the name of Custer Battlefield National Monument to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, was authorized by Congress in 1991 and signed into law by former President George H. W. Bush on December 10, 1991.”

From the sign describing the Indian Memorial

The design of the Indian Memorial is circular. It includes the etchings of the warriors (above) and words of “A Great Victory.” It also has a remarkable metal sculpture (below) and quotations from Native Americans.

Isn’t it interesting how we frame a story based on our particular experiences, culture, heritage, and more? What might we learn if we were to truly listen to a different narrative of the same event? Whose story do I/we need to hear today?

CMMC – May Alphabet – Letter “G” in the Word

Saguaro Cactus. Desert Arroyo Park, Mesa, Arizona. May 15, 2021.

“Words with the Letter G” is the theme for Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge May Alphabet. My photos this week were taken on a recent trip to Arizona to see family. So grateful to be fully vaccinated!

Golden Barrel Cactus. Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona. May 16, 2021.

My sister-in-law and I spent a marvelous morning at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. We couldn’t talk anyone else into going with us!

Bougainvillea. Gila Bend, Arizona. May 18, 2021.

My aunt uses collected glass bottles to create “flowers” and “gardens” in her yard. These pictures of green glass fit Cee’s challenge well.

My last tourist type stop was Painted Rock Petroglyph Site near Gila Bend, Arizona.

Couldn’t resist one final photo: grandmother (right), daughter (left), and granddaughter (center).

Three Generations. Gila Bend, Arizona. May 19, 2021

CMMC – May Pick a Topic – Mural

My casual query after breakfast Sunday led to a field trip to see – and photograph – the 6th Street Mural in Billings, Montana. Thinking of Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge Pick a Topic from her Photo (see it here), I asked if there were any murals in Billings. Although he thought it a strange question, the young dad in the room quickly did an internet search. We soon had plans for after the baby’s nap!

I played in traffic and dodged pigeon droppings to get the sixth shot. The last picture was taken from the passenger seat as the dad drove under the underpass.

The mural was planned and the details painted by Elyssa Leininger. She had help from volunteers who prepared the walls and added wide swaths of paint as directed by the artist. Find more information about the mural and the process as reported by a radio station here and the local newspaper here.

CMMC – May Color – Purple: Flowers

Lenten Rose. Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University. April 3, 2021.
Hyacinth. Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University. April 3, 2021.
Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University. April 18, 2021.
Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University. April 18, 2021.
Johnny Jump Ups. Dilworth’s Yard, Billings, Montana. May 11, 2021.

Posted in response to Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge – May Color Purple.

CMMC – May Close-Up or Macro Photo: Locks

Dad recently refurbished an old secretariat desk. Antiques Roadshow aficionados would not approve but I imagine without Dad’s efforts the piece of furniture would have landed in the landfill. He’s pretty pleased with result – from the chalk paint finish to the carving he imitated to the new lock and key.

While helping with the yardwork, I noticed the slide bolt for the shed. As far as I know there is no lock on it so no key is needed!

The deadbolt on the backdoor is a different kind of lock. It’s not as eye-catching as the lock on the desk, but it does what it is supposed to do.

Posted in response to Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge – May Close-Up or Macro picture.

Bright Square: Water Feature

You know winter has gone and warmer weather is officially here when the folk at Reiman Gardens turn on the pumps and fill the water features. Light and shadow through water make such interesting patterns.

Thank-you, Becky, for the April Bright Square Challenge. And thanks to all the bloggers who participated! I’ve enjoyed all the brightness.

CMMC April Letter: “E” at the Beginning or Ending of a Word

Tricycle. Fisher Farm. April 22, 2021.

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge is to share photographs illustrating words beginning or ending with the letter ‘e’. I considered words that begin and end with “e” – envelope and epistle made my short list – but opted to use photos I’ve taken in the last week.

The tricycle in the first picture is hanging upside down next to a four bicycles which are also dangling from the ceiling. Another fun find at a friend’s farm!

Gate. Reiman Gardens. April 26, 2021.

This gate made me chuckle since there is no fence on either side. I wonder if it is newly installed since I don’t remember it on earlier visits to Reiman Gardens. Perhaps something magically wonderful happens for those who walk through it.

Geese on Shore. Reiman Gardens. April 26, 2021.

The goslings have hatched! I first saw the nest in early April so it was fun to see the parental geese and their young.

Geese on Pond. Reiman Gardens. April 22, 2021.

Once on the pond, the little ones practiced how to dive under the water. Notice the splash one made in the final photo.

Geese at Play. Reiman Gardens. April 22, 2021.