I recently came across these photos, from a time before I owned a halfway decent camera, before I had a sleeping bag that packed down enough to fit into my brand spanking new backpack, before I was married to the guy who went hiking with me. We took a trip to the Yellow River State Forest in the northeast corner of Iowa, right on the Mississippi, to try out our new backpacks and our new relationship. I had lived in Iowa for five years by then, and had no idea it harbored such steep and beautiful backpacking trails. I should never have doubted.
It was just an overnight trip, two nights at most. The morning we drove back towards home, we stopped and had breakfast, I think in Harper’s Ferry, and acquired a couple of zucchini from this local guy who stopped in with extra produce from his garden. Breakfast in a local diner at the end of a trip is an unbreakable backpacking tradition for us these days.