Tag Archives: Stream

Native Hitchhikers Article

Mother Nature has designed several modes of transportation for her native plants.  I’m sure most of people are familiar with some of her tactics.  Sometimes it is not a pleasant experience for human beings.  These hitchhikers can stick to you like Velcro or stick into you like needles.

Have you ever walked through a wetland or marshy area?  If you have and if you weren’t watching where you were going, you may have encountered some Beggar Ticks and not noticed them all over your clothing until it was too late.  When your clothing or an animal brushes against the mature seed heads of Beggar Ticks, the individual seeds attach themselves to them by prongs much like a fork.  Some have two while others have 4 prongs.  Once attached, they are in motion to their new resting spot by you or an animal transporting them free of charge to their destination.  Some of the Beggar Ticks may come off your clothing by you brushing up against other vegetation and just knocking the clinging seeds off to fall willy-nilly wherever they may.  If they happen to get picked off or fall off in a wet area, they are vey happy because they can sprout again and secure their existence another year.  In the spring, the seeds will germinate given the proper moist conditions.  If they happen to travel home with you and you decide to pick them off before going into your house, they may fall onto your lawn.  In most cases, this would not be a place where Beggar Ticks could survive because it would be too dry not to mention getting mowed down even if they did.

The next time you are out walking in the summer near a stream or in a wetland, be on the lookout for a plant with many pretty yellow flowers.   It will probably be in the genus of Bidens or Beggar Ticks or Bur Marigold as they are commonly called.  As fall approaches the pretty yellow flowers turn into one of nature’s best-designed hitchhikers.

Howard Bright (Earthyman)

http://ionxchange.com/

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Kayaking on The Yellow River

 Whoever thought that people would be attracted to Northeast Iowa just to go kayaking.   Every year a group of people, sometimes up to 20 of them flock to Northeast Iowa’s Yellow River.  Iowa, known for cornfields is seldom thought of as a great place to kayak.  Low and behold in a remote region of Iowa that is full of limestone bluffs, valleys, trees and scenery beyond belief with eagles and vultures flying overhead, there is a clear stream with rainbow and brown trout and smallmouth bass. The Yellow River has the steepest vertical elevation fall of any river in Iowa.

Your launch may be at a bridge called 16, a name that was given to a small community that existed there in the late 1800’s.  Spend four hours on the Yellow River, stopping to fish or have a shore lunch with friends on a hot July day and you would swear that you were in Colorado or somewhere out west having the time of your life.  There are beautiful vertical walls lush with liverworts and often the more observing kayakers will stop by the walls and pet the Lichens or Liverworts as they are known because they have a feel that is so special and unforgettable.  Takeout may be at Ion, a ghost town now with nothing left.  A huge flood destroyed the whole town of 149 people back in 1916.  There was a hotel, a hardware store, a sawmill and a gristmill.  An old timer, Bill Aard, saw his best friend cut in half at the sawmill.  Bill never traveled more than 20 miles out of the valley during his whole life.  He died at 103 years of age.

There now exists just downstream from Ion a well known native seed and plant nursery and The Natural Gait.  Many people stay at The Natural Gait in one of their exquisite log cabins for their venture down the Yellow River.

Whether you go to kayak or scenery or just to relax, the Yellow River is a place to remember.

By Howard Bright

www.ionxchange.com

www.thenaturalgait.com