Pilot Knob

This state park near Forest City is the second highest location in the state of Iowa. The property was obtained in 1921 and in the early 30’s the Civilian Conservation Corps built the observation tower.

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Becky, Reed, Telly, Hazel and I had a picnic there today and hiked to the tower with the dogs on a double leash leading the way. When we were kids the tower was surrounded by trees but several years ago they cut them all down leaving it look quite bare.

As kids we would run up the steps to the top – at that time the steps were wood. Here they are today.

I don’t like heights but I did go up so I could take these pictures.

When we first arrived at the park we had a picnic compliments of Becky.

After visiting the tower we went on to the amphitheater also built by the CCC. I attended a wedding here and it’s just a magical place.

What a glorious park!

Yesterday was the baby shower at church and an explanation is needed here. The couple’s young nieces began referring to the “baby” as pineapple so Welcome, Baby Pineapple was the theme. I used pineapple fabric by Art Gallery for the back of the quilt and took a fresh pineapple cradled in my arms.

I told her to cut off the pineapple top and plant it like Reed and I did last summer. Look at it today!

I took a few pictures in the barn today at chores.

The hen in this nest has been insisting on setting for a few weeks so I gave her two plastic eggs to sit on till she gets over it. I don’t need any more roosters hatching.

Here’s a place a few hens lay eggs every day – on top of a bale of bedding!

And Hazel is on mouse watch in the feed room!

Oh my gosh for leaves in the yard!

One final gorgeous fall picture.

50 thoughts on “Pilot Knob

  1. Diane Deibler

    Funny you should post your day at Pilot Knob. We took the 4 grands there today to climb the tower. Tradition to go to the knob every fall. You were brave to have a picnic. I thought the wind was pretty brisk.

  2. Julianna

    gorgeous trees, Mary. I am just sick, I had to have severL CUT DOWN – aSH bORE DISEASE – ugh! Such a loss to my view.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Julianna – many groves are being cut down in our area because of the same problem.

  3. Betty Klosterman

    What was Pilot Knob used for? I’ve heard of it but never knew where it was. Great day for a picnic.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Betty K – it was a vantage point for pioneers enabling them to find their way across the prairie originally. Today it’s a tourist spot and point of interest.

  4. Jo in Wyo

    Oh! Mary, what a beautiful day. Your pictures make me smile.
    That incredible golden tree. Now that’s a quilt color group. Yellow, gold, black, blue and white. Almost forgot the grass and fence colors.
    My dad worked on CCC projects in the Great Smoky Mountains. I hope they are still standing a hundred years from now.
    From the smile on your face, looks like the eye surgery went just fine. I sure hope so.

    1. Carla

      Marilynn, my dad was a CCC’er also. He was in northern Minnesota near or on one of Reservations. Not sure what their main job was but he did share that they were called on to help in finding a missing hunter. During the search he found a really nice pair of shed antlers that he made into a hat rack that hung in our entryway.

  5. Patricia Campbell

    Wonderful pictures!! No Autumn here in Phoenix and this Michigan girl sure misses it!!! Reed is growing fast!!! And your chickens!! I adore seeing the pictures of all the animals but especially the chickens! haha 🐓🐔

  6. Marian Stever

    Enjoyed all your pictures. Nice to get out for a picnic before ol ‘ man winter appears! I bet Reed enjoyed the tower. Fun to take the dogs along. And, I love those chickens!! Beautiful baby quilt.

  7. Martha Engstler

    Thanks for the beautiful call pictures. Here in Pa. There was so much rain that we believed it has caused the leaves on so many trees to just dry up and fall off, strange. Always enjoy the chicken pictures.

  8. Carolyn Meadows

    Have you ever heard this quote? Be like a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Carolyn Meadows – no, I have never heard it but I think the new Mom will love it! I will tell her!

  9. Donna Sproston

    We actually drove by Country Threads today on the final leg of a round trip drive to Bend, OR, to visit a daughter. It was beautiful to see the harvest golds and fading greens of northwest Iowa. We will probably fly from here on out, but I will miss the long cross country trips. Flyover country has much to offer!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Donna Sproston – really? You could have stopped but I wasn’t even home!

      1. Donna Sproston

        Had I known our route home, I would have left my money and envelope for holiday mat and crows in the corn! We stayed in Spencer and I had no clue we were on the road to Garner until I saw Palm on the GPS. My husband said we should have stopped so he could see Colton!

  10. Diane in Ohio

    Those are beautiful pictures. We usually have beautiful Falls in Central Ohio, but last year and this year we have had cold, dreary rain. We go from Summer to Winter with not much Fall. I still love that baby quilt. When is the pineapple due? We love the plastic eggs trick–LOL!! Maybe you’ll get some jelly beans inside.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane in Ohio – Baby Pineapple is due the end of January. Jelly beans! Well, that would be a surprise!

  11. Mary Waller

    Love your chicken pictures, everyone looks healthy and happy. I have used the plastic egg trick with our chickens too. I love the leaves, especially under the tree. a lovey carpet I hope you are not in a hurry to rake them up. Here in California we are still having 90 degree weather and one small rain that escaped from Mexico! Your last picture is worthy of a frame and a place on your wall. Thanks for sharing

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Mary Waller – I thought the same about that picture – maybe I’ll have an enlargement made! It is beautiful!

  12. Carolyn Boutilier

    Enjoyed your adventure and seeing all the wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing.
    Carolyn B Shenandoah Valley VA

  13. Pat Smith

    I’m wondering why they cut the trees down at Pilot Knob State Park? Were they doomed ashes? All our ashes in Vermont are probably going to be lost. Apparently there is an inoculation available, but so expensive. We went up to Pilot Knob with our dogs in Oct. 2014 when we were at Lichtsinn’s in Forest City. You really can see for miles at that height. Also, really great views of the surrounding fields.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Pat Smith – nobody can say why the trees around the tower were cut down – probably somebody in an office decided. I’m sure there are many ash trees on all those acres so they will be lost eventually.

  14. Colleen

    Loved your pictures today the lovely fall colors and chickens I did not know you had so many, I know 3 are Reeds.
    In my area of California we are in the 68-70s and cool to cold at night. Doors and windows open from noon to dusk then close up to keep the cold out.
    Your pineapple plant looks good
    I haven’t tired growing one any idea what zone they can grow in and size does it become a tree?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Colleen – I will need to research the pineapple question. Right now it’s just a beautiful houseplant.

  15. Jean Elliott

    I just wrote something and it disappeared! Loved all the pictures and the quilt. I wondered where all the trees were around the silo at Pilot Knob but then I read the post. I remember going there so many times. I think I’m going to be in Garner in January so maybe I’ll be able to see you. I hope you don’t have to rake all those leaves …they are very pretty but wow what a job that would be.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jean Elliot -please let me know when you’re in Garner so we can get together for coffee! I’m hoping I can mow all those leaves into mulch.

  16. Anita Fetzer

    What a lovely day you all had. Trees are gorgeous. Ohio trees are turning those beautiful fall colors too, think we missed Indian Summer. It was here and gone in the blink of an eye.

  17. Sue H

    What a fun day! I love all the pictures. I took Fall pictures yesterday too on my walk with the dog. We’re not quite as far along as you as I’m south towards St. Louis. You and the kids are all lucky to be willing and able to spend time together. Enjoy!!!

  18. Carol

    Loved seeing the CCC contribution to your area. My Grandpa worked with the CCC when my mom was little. They built up an area a mile down the road from our home, Chestnut Ridge Park. It is on a ridge, lots of twisty winding roads, lots of picnic shelters and a few well built buildings including a main building called The Casino. There are tobaggon slides, we loved going there as kids. They served cocoa in the casino, and there was a huge fireplace at either end, lovely murals that are under restoration now, and picnic tables.
    My mother never told us our Grandpa played a role in its development until lately; how much of our family histories/stories have we missed, I wonder?
    There is a trail down a gully that is about a mile long or so, we used to do it as kids and I remember it was VERY long. My dad would take us and lift us over mud puddles and big tree trunks if they were in the way. I think there were 100 wide far apart steps carved into the sides of the trail. At the end…this is amazing…is what we call here “The Eternal Flame”. It’s a grotto and a flame burns continually, natural gas… it’s so worth the hike! In the fall with the oaks and maples and chestnut trees in color, and in the spring, budding green everywhere. The winter, ice and snow and fire, oh my! Thank you for igniting the flame of warm memories!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Carol – what wonderful memories of your dad and the park! I can’t understand the eternal flame – why don’t the leaves start on fire? The flame must be very protected in the Grotto. Did your grandpa help construct the Grotto? I am sorry I don’t visit the parks around here more often.

      On another topic you mentioned – when our mom was in her late 80’s I gave her a leather journal to write down some of her childhood memories. Becky is going to type up some of the stories which I’ll share with all of you.

      1. Cynthia Sabinske

        You can google it Chestnut Ridge Park Eternal Flame, 🔥 they have photos of the fla,e inside a little cave-like opening in the rocks, and a waterfall is next to it!

  19. Sue in Oregon

    The CCC Boys (as my mother called them) did amazing things for Oregon. There are still lots of wonderful things they built for us, especially along the coast. And, of course, we grow lots and lots of trees that they had at their disposal. Mom and her friends were teenagers then and I think they flirted like mad with those boys. lol She always got a twinkle in her eyes when she talked about the CCC boys.
    I love the baby quilt you made for the little pineapple. Wish she had shown the back. Those colors are so bright and good together.
    I have never been to the midwest except to fly into Chicago once and then back out, so your photo of Reed at the top of the tower is very interesting to me. Your part of the world is very flat. So different from our part of the US. Every part of our country has it’s own beauty, that’s for sure.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sue in Oregon – I’ll take a picture of the pineapple fabric for you. Yes, Iowa is very flat as you could see and that’s why we’re so enamored of the high elevation at Pilot Knob, I think.

  20. Kathy

    What great pictures! How did the dogs do with the double leash? I have retractable leash’s for my two and I must look so funny walking with doing a dance keeping untwisted and crossing them back and forth. Today it’s windy and cold here in NY so leaves are coming down like crazy in our backyard but they are all green. No pretty colors this year with all the heat we had.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy – we had not used the double leash before but they did OK – we could use more practice however!

  21. Ann Barlament

    What a fun outing!! I’m sure Hazel and Telly found lots of new interesting smells!

    Am also enjoying stories from others and how their ancestors played a part in the CCC.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Ann Barlament – I am loving these family accounts of the CCC as well. I learn so much from all of you!

  22. Jo Kramer

    Our family picnics every year at Pilot Knob. I was so sad when they cut down the trees around the tower. It seemed magical with the trees and tower popping out in the middle. Now it seems stark.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jo Kramer – we agree! It looks so barren and sad! Why in the world would someone think it was a good idea?

  23. Jeanie from southwestern IL

    Thanks for posting about your Pilot Knob outing. I love picnics in the late fall when the weather is cool and invigorating.
    I live about 40 miles east of Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton IL. This park has a beautiful lodge built by the CCC. Even the bathrooms are lovely with lots of oak and marble. There is a similar CCC lodge in Giant City State Park, Makanda IL. I love the huge logs used in these buildings.

  24. Jeanie, sw IL

    Thanks for posting about your fun Pilot Knob outing. I love picnics in the late fall when the weather is cool and invigorating. Baby Pineapple’s quilt is adorable.
    I live about 40 miles east of Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton IL. The beautiful lodge in this park was built by the CCC; even the bathrooms are lovely with lots of oak and marble. Another similar CCC lodge is in Giant City State Park near Makanda IL. The architecture of these lodges with huge logs is amazing.

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