Girl’s Day: Pella/Lake Red Rock/Neil Smith Wildlife Refuge

Thanks to a fun girl’s day out with Mrs. JoZilla, I finally got to experience Pella and the tulips, explore around Lake Red Rock and climb the Cordova Tower (do it, the views are amazing), and drive through Neil Smith (we didn’t luck out in the bison department, but it wasn’t a complete bust either).

We started our venture with a quick stop for breakfast at Jaarama Bakery before setting out to walk around Pella and take photos of all the tulips. No really, I think I got photos of all of them. They’re so pretty. After walking though town and browsing through a couple stores, we grabbed some sandwiches and drinks from a coffee shop and headed to Lake Red Rock for a picnic lunch. The lake was quite and the area was beautiful. I’ll definitely be going back down there to explore the area some more. While we were there we climbed the Cordova Tower to take in the views. Yes, it’s high, but it’s so worth the climb. It’s all caged in–no chance of falling out. Conquer that fear of heights and give this a go. It does cost a quarter or two to get through the turnstiles, but again, do it. I imagine that the view in the fall is a great way to take in all of that gorgeous color.

struddle from Jaarsma watermarkedLayers of tulips 1 watermarkedPink and white tulips 1 watermarkedpink tulip open 1 watermarkedPurple and white tulip brick wall watermarkedPurple tulip brick wall 1 watermarkedPurple tulips in front of mural watermarkedTulips, mural, brick wall 1 watermarkedunique 1 watermarkedsea of pink and yellow tulips watermarkedtulip depth watermarkedPurple tulips and windmill 1 watermarkedred tulips and sundial 1 watermarkedsundial, flags, tulips watermarkedPella 2 sunburst watermarked

After lunch, we set off for a little gravel travel in the area, leading us to the Neil Smith Wildlife Refuge with high hopes of seeing some bison fairly close up. We saw two. TWO. Hundreds of bison on hundreds of acres and we saw two. I can’t figure out how such large creatures can virtually disappear into the landscape, but they were tucked away over a hill somewhere that day. Again, I’m hopeful that another trip will result in better luck. The one out of the two we saw that was close enough to photograph using Big Tammy (my 150-600mm) still didn’t come out that great. I had one that wasn’t blurry and one that was so blurry it looked as if I was trying my hand at ICM (intentional camera movement) photography. For the record: I wasn’t. That being said, I was pretty stoked with the result. I’m going to chalk it up to a happy accident!

wonky tree on gravel rd watermarkedcow and shed 1 watermarkedGrazing bison 2a 16x9 watermarkedICM Bison 1 watermarked

We rounded out our girl’s day with dinner (tempura shrimp and veggies and fish tacos with garlic fries) and one fantastic peach orange blossom Moscow Mule at Teddy Maroon’s in Des Moines.

I love girl’s days with my bestie. She’s one of a kind and I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

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