Water Works Park

Sundays are usually reserved for hiking or exploring some outdoor area.  This weeks area was Water Works Park.

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Water Works Park, located a few miles southwest of downtown Des Moines, is a 1,500 acre multi-purpose park.  Baseball fields, fishing ponds, trails, and an arboretum are just a few of the offerings.

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Charles Denman was the general manager of the water works (adjacent to the park along the Raccoon River) when the water company changed from private to municipal ownership.  The water works greatly expanded under his leadership, which apparently nets you an honorary wall.  Kudos, Charles.

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Water Works Park: fountain water coming in 2017.

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Why did I actually come to this park?  Because it is home to the Arie den Boer Arboretum, which has over 1,200 crab apple trees on site.

Seriously.  I was super excited.

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The Arboretum was named after Arie den Boer, who was hired by the water works to beautify the surrounding area in the 1930s.  I guess the wall of ol’ Charles wasn’t sexy enough for the public.  Pictured above: an old Sycamore tree.

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Robins seemed to favor certain crab apples.  Which must tell you a lot about their quality, especially if they have 1,200 trees to choose from.  Can you find the robin in this picture?

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The Arboretum was borderline deserted, and on a beautiful Sunday morning no less.  Am I the only person who enjoys a diverse collection of crab apple trees?

Don’t answer that.

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Seriously.  This was awesome.  Big trees, small trees.  Big apples, small, apples.

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I even found a little gazebo to retreat under and reflect on how much apple cider I could make if I came here in the dead of night…

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Remember Grays Lake?  It’s right across the street from the Arboretum and Water Works.  Its parking lot was overflowing.  The few people I did see in the Arboretum were pissed motorists who had to park and walk to the lake.

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Oh.  My.  God.  They even labeled the trees.  This is my hot fantasy.

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I observed most of the robins favoring this tree, called “Indian Magic.”  Which sounded kind of racist.  But the robins know best.  You can’t walk through a crab apple arboretum and not try at least one, right?

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Wow was that terrible.  The robins played me.  Turdidae turds…

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The taste was of moldy cornmeal, and the texture somewhere between moist sawdust and stale chewing gum.

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Geese may be dicks, but at least they don’t trick you into eating Indian Magic.

Yeah, it still sounds kind of racist.

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Water Works Park runs adjacent to the Raccoon River, which was flowing extremely quickly after heavy rain the previous week.  Trivia: what park did I visit that was also adjacent to the Raccoon River?

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I walked for several miles (according to my fit bit) to a bridge over the river.  I wasn’t sure where it went, but sincerely hoped it looped back to my car.  By this point I was getting hungry.

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People were riding horses on the other side of the river.

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Odocoileus virginianus: aka White-tailed Deer.  The white spots on the fawn’s back help break up the color pattern and make hiding easier.

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3 miles into my walk.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

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