The (Not) High Trestle Trail

I was unbelievably excited to travel the High Trestle Trail. It’s a 25-mile bike trail through five small Iowa towns and four counties. What I was most feverish for was the 13-story high bridge running over the Des Moines River Valley. For you Iowa skeptics, it’s actually one of the largest trail-bridges in the world with 41 steal frames standing over the bridge.

I followed directions from Traillink.com. As instructed I pursued East First Street, with a sharp lookout for Southwest Maple Street. My elation slowly wavered as I approached a dead end street (with no Southwest Maple in sight). I traveled down the deadend cautiously until I saw a sign for a bike trail. I parked, assuming I was about to head down the High Trestle Trail. As the Ankeny entrance to the trail is in the middle of the path, I wasn’t sure which direction to head out. I made a brave decision and started on my way. After biking through a lot of campsites (not quite picturesque) I entered a nice woodland trail which wound around Saylorville Lake. In the first 10 minutes I biked past an excess of wildlife including a snapping turtle and a family of deer.

May I interject on my own blogging to point out that deer have the strangest selective senses. If a butterfly lands on a marsh 60 miles away from a deer, the mammal will shoot off at 100-miles per hour as if it’s in the path of a world-renown assassin. But if my car is heading towards the deer at 80-miles per hour, it sits unfaltering as if waiting in line for the last pair of tickets to a Lady Gaga concert. The reason I rant is because as the deer frantically pranced through the woods, it scared me so badly I almost fell of my bike.

After biking for more than an hour I realized I most likely was not on the High Trestle Trail (because there were no signs and also a total lack of a 13-story high bridge). I turned around with my bloody and blistered heels and began the disappointing ride back to my car. Towards the end of my endeavor as I exhaustedly pedaled at a grueling pace on the paved trail, a vulture began to hover high above my head. Fearing I was the slowest moving prey on the entire trail I kept a watchful eye on my hunter. When he disappeared I legitimately feared for my life until he came into view again.

On the drive out I did happen to see a sign for the High Trestle Trail pointing forward but never saw any more signage. The High Trestle Trail: a haunting Iowa illusion. Until my next disorienting adventure … some video of the beautiful (Not) High Trestle Trail.

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