In my mission to hike as much of Iowa as possible this summer I was able to cross Skillet Creek Indian Mounds in Webster County off of my list. Just five miles east of Dayton, the site contains five conical and one linear prehistoric Native American ceremonial burial mounds. Believed to be constructed 1,500 to 2,000 years ago by the Woodland Indians, the preserve is what is left of this extinct culture.
The trail to the mounds is roughly a mile of wooded timber paths. The mounds were not the easiest to identify (and I have no photos of them), but there are signs posted around the mounds that explain their history. The signs state that the Indians likely buried their dead at the top of a hill so that they could be closer to the spirits they worshiped. They also state that fewer than 10 percent of Iowa’s Indian burial mounds still remain. Many of the mounds have been mistakenly plowed.
What I did manage to capture was some early signs of fall, a forgotten bench along the trail, a busy bee, and a spined micrathena, which nature keeps insisting on acquainting me with as I walk into their webs (I love nature, spiders and their relatives, not so much).