Take a Hike: Hanging Rock Park

In my mission to conquer as many trails as I could this summer, I discovered Hanging Rock Park. What I wouldn’t discover until recently, however, is that I completely goofed on where I needed to be in order to find the hanging rock formations for it’s named.

The morning I went to Hanging Rock, I encountered a couple groups of dove hunters who were kind enough to point me in the direction of some goldfinches. I thought they were joking when they told me that there was a “sunflower patch with hundreds of goldfinches,” if they hadn’t scared them off, “just up the trail.” I thanked them for the tip and hiked on. When I reached the sunflower patch (which was full of mostly dead sunflowers), I realized the hunters were in deed not kidding–there were literally hundreds of the tiny golden birds flying in groups from flower to flower. In awe, I decided I’d find a spot and watch for a bit. While many of the birds scattered at my presence, I was able to get a few snaps of some of the braver ones feasting on what was left of the sunflowers.

dying sunflower 1 watermarkeddying sunflower 1 ansel watermarkedbackside of sunflower watermarkedMr. and Mrs. Finch on a sunflower watermarkedFinch on sunflower 1 watermarkedFinch on a sunflower 1 watermarkedFinch eating sunflower seeds 4 watermarkedFinch eating sunflower seeds 3 watermarkedFinch eating sunflower seeds 2 watermarkedFinch eating sunflower seeds 1 watermarked

When I tired of watching the finches play, I wandered along the sunflowers a bit longer and ended up doing a 20 minute photo shoot with a bumble bee on what was the only sunflower in the patch that was still vibrantly yellow and in-tact. And, after the bee left, I took (what I think are) some pretty beautiful shots of the sunflower too.

Bee on sunflower left view watermarkedbee on sunflower 4 watermarkedbee on sunflower 2 watermarkedbee on sunflower 3 watermarkedbee on sunflower 1 watermarkedbee on sunflower 5 watermarked

I continued walking the mowed trails through the grassy prairie, pausing to twist on my magnifying lens and get up close and personal with a tiny feather. Below is the original as well as a few fun edits. Click the images to enlarge.

After that pitstop, I kept following the path, looking for the trail that would take me to the river and the “hanging rocks.” Unfortunately, no matter what I tried, I was only able to get a couple glimpses of the river and none with hanging rocks. I finally gave up and headed back toward my car. It wasn’t until a few days ago, conversing with someone on Facebook, that I realized that there is a norther entrance, on the opposite side of the river, that would’ve taken me to the rock formations along the river. So, now that I know where to go, I’ll be putting Hanging Rock back on my list!

Middle Raccoon River adventure watermarkedgrain bin and wildflowers watermarkedHanging Rock road fd watermarkedHanging Rock road matte watermarked

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