Saturday, September 23, 2006

Yellow Banks Park

The boys and I went to a Native American Celebration this afternoon--as you can see from the pictures. It was sunny all morning and I was hopeful for a sunny afternoon. At least it did not rain and was only overcast. It was not too cool either but breezy when we were at the scenic overlook area.

Cliff had to work so I thought it would be some neat one on one time with the boys and it was. When we arrived we looked at cases of arrow heads and saw men making arrow heads out of different types of rocks. It was interesting to see how they are shaped by hitting a rock with specific tools like the Native Americans used to do. One tool they used was a moose antler but just the base of the antler.

After we watched the demonstration for a few minutes we walked over to see a teepee being put up by a County Park employee and some group volunteers. I was a little disappointed that the event was not put on by actual Native Americans but by County Park employees and volunteers. However, I thought overall they did a nice job and the location was scenic and a new spot for us. The county park was only about 15 minutes from our house which was nice.

The park overlooked the Des Moines River and allows camping. The boys and I hiked down a steep hill toward the river. It was a lot more than I bargained for! I thought Camden would scoot down the dirt trail on his bottom. He did part of the way and part of the way I helped him. Once we got the the bottom there were railroad tracks and a large puddle of water. The boys tossed gravel into the puddle and I debated if we should trek up another trail that leads to a cliff which overlooks the river. After thinking about it for awhile and relaxing we started our way up. Then Camden wanted me to carry him and I decided not to. It would have been hard to get back down. It was a lot more steep than I was comfortable with on the way down carrying him, if he decided he couldn't do it. Plus he was tired. Anyhow it was a neat hike but not easy with a two year old. I enjoyed the trees and their fall foliage near the river. The boys just thought it was cool that we were out hiking!

Afterward we ran into Rachael, Marc, and Ana and the family who told us about the event as well. It was nice to see some familar faces! Marc ran up and hugged Holden. It was sooo sweet! Camden was off looking at something and came running when I told him Marc and Ana were here.

A little while later Holden, Marc, and Camden ran off to play by an old fallen tree. Camden was standing by some older girls and interested in something. They were talking to him. I was half listening to a man giving a talk about Native American crops and watching Camden. I decided I better go see what Camden was doing with these older girls. When I approached them it turned out to be a woman and her two daughters showing him their electronic bird call sounds device. They were very nice and kind people. I think they thought I thought they were kidnappers the way I walked up to Camden to see what was happening. They really enjoyed showing him their little toy. And he was enthralled too! He has a knack for getting people to do the sweetest things for him!

Camden managed to attract the attention of a little girl who wore a green shirt. She kept chasing him and he kept telling her to go away. He walked up to me and said "girl chasing me mama." Finally she got the hint and left him alone. I stayed close to be sure. She was his age but maybe a little too bossy for his taste.

Later we all went on a guided walk to see the Native American buriel ground nearby. I had seen something similar in NW Iowa a few years back. It is interesting to hear the history about these mounds with grass and native plants growing on them. They don't look like much but it is still fascinating to learn about other cultures and their traditions from many years ago.

It was good to be out and in nature. Learning about Native Americans was a bonus!

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