Little Paint Creek, Yellow River State Forest, Allamakee County, Iowa

It was maybe the last chance for a camping weekend during this season for us. We pitched our tent in northeast Iowa at Yellow River State Forest, only 90 minutes away from home. 8,900 acres of forestland and over 41 miles of hiking trails make it a great area for an autumn hiking trip. We had some good conversation with other hikers on the trail and friendly camp neighbors shared their dinner with us (Thank you again Pam and Phil!). At this time of the year, when the wind blows and the temperatures drop below freezing at night, the camp sites are usually not so full and often you find like minded people that enjoy the quiet side of tent camping as we do.

To be honest, I had high hopes to find still an abundance of leaves with fall colors, but if you look at the image below, most leaves were already on the ground. The rain and wind during the last few weeks is probably to blame for. No leaves means more light on the ground and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The challenge was to find the places where the light was not just a dappled mess. Little Paint Creek flows through the campsite and right before the sun disappeared behind the bluffs, the moss and lichen covered rock wall and the shadows from the trees behind me “painted” the surface of the water with warm colors and a pattern that worked for me…

Paint Creek, Yellow River State Forest, Allamakee County, Iowa