A sea covered the midwest region of North America about 300 million years ago, eventually forming a deep layer of sandstone in what is now central Iowa. Several past glacial eras carved out diverse landforms across the state. Between 12,000-14,000 years ago, a lobe of ice pushed south from the northern plains and stopped near present day Des Moines. Melting and runoff carved out steep canyons in the sandstone bedrock below, forming what is today Ledges State Park. It is one of Iowa’s favorite parks offering hikes with elevation changes of 150 feet in several places. This topographic map illustrates the rugged terrain. Many people think of Iowa as flat farmland. Most of Iowa isn’t flat.
Our hosts at our B&B urged us to ride the gondola to Sulfur Mountain next door to Banff. Near the base of the mountain is a place called Cave and Basin. It is the first of Canada’s national parks, established in 1885. We secured our tickets and climbed aboard with two other people. The ride started out kind of level as you can see below. By the time we reached the top several minutes later, we were going nearly vertical. It was great fun and scenic. The town of Banff and the surrounding valley and mountains were beautiful.
We left the east side of Glacier Park on July 7 and headed north for Canada. The border was less than an hour away. We got to the inspection station and waited for the two cars ahead to clear. Melanie was driving. We were sitting at this stop sign about 20 ft behind the vehicle ahead currently being cleared by the agent. I suggested to Melanie that she pull ahead so we were closer.
The agent waved the car ahead through. We drove up and handed him our passports and photo IDs. He looked them over and said “You folks were doing just fine until you drove up closer. Next time, stay back at that stop sign like the sign says.” He smiled, asked a few questions, and let us pass. I felt kind of sheepish.