What’s a derecho, anyway?

According to Merriam-Webster, a derecho is: “a large fast-moving complex of thunderstorms with powerful straight-line winds that cause widespread destruction.”  The National Weather Service says that a long-lasting line of storms producing winds in excess of 58 mph and greater and leaving damage for 240 miles or more is a derecho.  One of those occurred Monday morning, August 10th, popping up just west of the Omaha-Council Bluffs area just after sunrise and ravaging the landscape as far east as Indiana.

Four of the Iowa State Parks in our 20 Iowa Walks in 2020 program were affected by the derecho:

  • Big Creek – no power, limited services, some trail closures
  • Lake Macbride – closed
  • Ledges – no power, limited services, modern toilets affected, trails open 
  • Palisades – Kepler – closed

Before heading to one of those four parks, contact it directly for an updated status. Use this link to navigate to the park of interest: Iowa’s State Parks

 

Summer 2020 News

If you’re not a club member, you probably didn’t see our July – August newsletter.  If you did see it, you might not know that our Westroads Year Round Event has reopened!  Good news – all of those year round events will be available next year, with a few surprises.  Bad news – our 20 Iowa Parks in 2020 program is coming to an end October 15, 2020.  Good news – there’s still two more months of great walking weather to get them all done!

More bad news – we won’t be having any Group Walks in Iowa State Parks as planned for August 29th, October 2nd nor October 3rd.  But our partner in these walks, the Greater Des Moines Volkssport Association, is planning a Group Walk of Stephens State Forest on September 26th at 10 a.m.

Bad news/Good news – our friends to the north, the Prairie Wanders Volkssport Club, have had to postpone their multi-event walking weekend from September 11 – 13, 2020 to September 10 – 12, 2021.

Our September 19, 2020 walk at Standing Bear Lake, Entrance 4 (between Fort and Military on 132nd Street) is still on, but the breakfast portion of the walk has been cancelled.  Arrive anytime from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. to register and to walk.  Masks are required for the registration, but are not needed once you start walking.  Please bring $2 exact change in an envelope for each Fun Walker and/or $3 for each Credit Walker (book stamper).  Bring your own pen to sign in.  No need to rush this walk – you have until 2 p.m. to get back – and yes, we do check to make sure that the same number of people that start out are the same number of people that come back.  ?

Lots of News! and a Newsletter

It’s hard to keep track of everything that’s changing, isn’t it! Our crack reporter and newsletter editor Julie put together another great newsletter – and in the last couple of days, we’ve got more news and updates to pass along to you.

First, the newsletter: NWFT May-June 2020 newsletter

You can download it here: NWFT May – June 2020 newsletter

Now for the updates:

  • Our May 9th Traditional Walk, rescheduled from April, is CANCELED.
  • No decision has been made at this time about our June 1st Club Meeting.
  • 20 Iowa Parks in 2020 seasonal walking program has OPENED as of May 1st.  All facilities are not open at the parks until at least May 15th, although one or two toilets may be available.  Try to be flexible if you want to walk before the 15th and do follow all Iowa social distancing guidelines.
  • Speaking of the Iowa Parks program, Lake Anita State Park’s POC Jill reports that the Start Box is temporarily located inside the Park Office, until the campgrounds open on May 15th.
  • Still speaking of the Iowa Parks program, the June 6th Group Walks at Lewis and Clark and Stone State Parks have been CANCELED.  These are fantastic walks that you can do on your own, but not with a group at this time. Maybe in the fall?
  • Omaha Hanscom Park YRE has REOPENED.
  • Omaha Westroads Mall YRE is still CLOSED.
  • A New Seasonal Walk, with Little Free Library!,  has been ADDED in Southeastern Council Bluffs, courtesy of Sandy Spaulding.  Info at: AVA website listing

UPDATES TO OUR YEAR ROUND WALKS

Updated May 4, 2020, 3 p.m.

Just added: a new Seasonal Walk May 1 – Sept. 30th in southeastern rural Council Bluffs!  It even has a Little Free Library.  See details here: Country Knolls – Council Bluffs

Our club hosts 8 different year round walks (YREs) that you can do on your own, at any time that the hosting business for our walk box is open.  Of those 8 YREs, one has been closed and one has had some changes to their accessibility.

The Hanscom Park Walk, sanction #114315, registers at the Comfort Inn at the Zoo, and starts within Hanscom Park. The City of Omaha has reopened all city parks, so this walk has re-opened.

The Westroads Mall Walk, sanction #115089, registers at the AmericInn at 9720 W Dodge Rd, Omaha, NE 68114, just across the street from the Westroads Mall. The AmericInn is closed and the Walk Box is not available.  The Mall itself has shortened its hours of operation, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Most stores in the mall are closed, as is the Food Court.  is closed to shoppers and walkers.

Across the Missouri River, the Council Bluffs (Iowa) Black Squirrel Walk, sanction #114319, registers at Lansky’s at 1131 N Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503.  Lansky’s is closing earlier and is offering takeout food only, with no access to bathrooms. Operating hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Management has asked walkers to take the Walk Box outside to complete paperwork and then to return it.

CALENDAR UPDATE

Please note that the following events have been changed (updated May 21, 2020):

  • June 6th Group Walk at Lewis and Clark State Park, Iowa – CANCELED
  • June 6th Group Walk at Stone State Park, Iowa – CANCELED
  • June 20th Group Walk hosted by Iowa’s Walking Club at Mines of Spain State Park – CANCELED

Any questions, please let us know at netrailblazers@gmail.com.

WALKING SEASON RETURNS!

“Can” we beat 123 donations?

Our Annual Soup Walk takes place on March 7th at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church at 5529 Leavenworth St., Omaha, NE 68106 (but parking is off of Marcy Street, one block south!).  Registration takes place from 9 a.m. to noon, costing $2 for Fun Walkers and $3 for Credit Walkers PLUS 2 cans of soup.  This year, we’ll have our standard mixed beef and mixed chicken soup offerings, plus a pot of tomato basil soup for our vegetarian friends. The raffle features 5 Grand Prizes and a host of smaller prizes, with chances priced at 50 cents each or 3/$1.

We have two 5 km routes for you to choose from or to combine. Both routes feature Little Free Libraries, while the North Route also offers the “Rockin’ Around the Clock” and “Ice Cream Parlors” programs. We’ll have Group Walks at 9:30 and 10:30  – just because the Ice Cream Parlor doesn’t open until 11 a.m.!

Soup Walk Volunteers: The Workers’ Walk will take place Sunday, March 1st at 3 p.m. Come 15 minutes early to do paperwork. No bathrooms available at start.


The Lincoln Volkssport Club is offering their annual Spring Walk on Saturday, March 21st at the Enclosed Shelter in Antelope Park, near the intersection of Normal Blvd and “A” Streets, Lincoln, NE. Registration is from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Fun Walkers walk FREE and Credit Walkers pay $3. There will be a Group Walk setting out at 9:30 a.m. to walk the 10 km route. Both the 5 km and 10 km routes go through neighborhoods and park areas.  Your Group Walk leader likes to get ice cream at UNL’s Dairy Store after walking in Lincoln. Just sayin’ . . . 


Our club and Iowa’s Walking Club (Greater Des Moines Volkssport Association) are putting the finishing touches on everything you need to start walking on May 1st.  This special set of 20 walks in 20 Iowa State Parks in 20 different counties continues through October 15, 2020. Want more information? Check our website at: http://www.netrailblazers.club/2020-special-events/iowa-20-in-20-walks/  Want to get regular email newsletters about those special walks? Send an email to walk20in20@gmail.com and we’ll get you on the mailing list.

2020 Walk Booklet – just published!

Our 2020 Walk Booklet is just filled with so many walks and activities that you’re going to need to pull out your calendars NOW and mark them all!

Just check out the new weblink here to see it and the instructions for printing 28 pages bursting with information on just 7 sheets of paper!

Our first regular walking event is Saturday, March 7th – our annual Soup Walk, complete with Raffle.  Our booklet editor, Julie, calls it our “Winter-Be-Gone” Soup Walk.  Hope so! – there’s an Ice Cream Parlor on the route (one of three Special Programs available on this walk).

 

What time? Where? Registration? It’s all in the booklet! But we’ll be posting later this month to remind you.  🙂

 

Le Mars, Iowa December 7th outing

After a nice 2 hour drive, meet at the walk start point at Holiday Inn Express, to register for the walk.  Carpool to enjoy lunch at Pizza Ranch then start your walk, stopping at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Shop and Ice Cream Museum. Visit the Plymouth County Museum to see over 400 manger scenes and 100 Christmas village scenes.  After your walk visit Christmas Village at the County Fairgrounds with old time stores, great entertainment, sandwiches and roasted marshmallows, beautiful Christmas trees, horse drawn sleigh rides and a round barn decorated in a Christmas scene. All free!  Then back to the downtown area to enjoy the lighted, animated floats in the Christmas Parade.  Continue in the Christmas spirit by visiting Christmas Acres 7 miles from Le Mars where there are 1200 displays and inflatables and an estimated 100,000 lights.  This huge display is hosted by the Scheitler family at no charge.  Monetary donations are accepted for the Christian Needs Center Food Bank in Le Mars.

Carpool Details

Saturday, December 7th at 10 a.m.  – Meet @ Council Bluffs Walmart, 3201 Manawa Centre.  Email Sandy care of netrailblazers@gmail.com if interested in riding or driving in carpool either for the day and returning that evening or staying overnight.  If you plan to spend the night special rate good till Nov. 6:

Reservations on your own — Holiday Inn Express, $129 AVA rate, 712-546-1700.

Return to Council Bluffs  about 1 p.m. Sunday or drive back Saturday night.

Walk Registration

December 7th at noon – Meet at Holiday Inn Express, 1285 Sleepy Eye Dr., Le Mars, Iowa to register for walk and stamp books.  $3 Walk fee.

Lunch

12:30 p.m. -Pizza Ranch, 22 Central Ave. SW in Le Mars.  Let Sandy know if you plan to eat lunch so she can notify Pizza Ranch of numbers.

Walk

1:30 p.m. -5:30 p.m. – Seasonal Walk from Pizza Ranch 5 or 10k Rated 1A – route has been reconfigured to take us from Pizza Ranch to Plymouth County Museum for Christmas Manger display. Take your time and enjoy all four floors of this great museum.  (Distance included in IVV walk)

Christmas Village-at Plymouth County Fairgrounds – within walking distance of downtown (.7 miles).  (Distance included in IVV walk.  Open 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Parade

6 p.m.  Lighted parade downtown along Central Avenue

Christmas Acres

If you still have energy after this fun day, visit Christmas Acres, 18481 Impala Ave, Struble, IA, about 7 miles from Le Mars.  To get there, take U.S. Hwy. 75 in Le Mars southwest to IA Hwy. 3, west to Impala Ave, left to Christmas Acres on the right. Open 5-10 p.m. There is another lights display along IA Hwy. 3 before you get to Christmas Acres that you can park and walk through.

Club News from October Meeting

We had a very busy club meeting on Monday night!

Upcoming Walks and Meetings:

  • Our December 7th bus trip to Le Mars, Iowa is cancelled – but NOT the walk! Club members are still invited to carpool to Le Mars to walk and enjoy the Winter Wonderland festivities. When carpool details and meeting times are finalized, they will be published here and on Facebook and sent by Trail Mail and email.  The original deposits for the bus trip will be returned by mail shortly.
  • Saturday, November 2nd morning– Lincoln Volkssport Club’s annual Autumn Walk through Wyuka Cemetery and surrounding neighborhoods.  Registration times 8:45 a.m. to 11 a.m., off the trail by 12:45 p.m.  Group 10k walk at 9:30 – email netrailblazers@gmail.com if you’d like to lead a group 5k walk.  $3 for AVA/IVV Credit, Fun Walkers are free.  Registration will take place at the City Impact Building, 1035 N. 33rd Street, Lincoln, NE 68503.
  • Sunday, November 3rd – 2 p.m. – Workers’ Walk for the Pie Walk, at Countryside Community Church, 13130 Faith Plaza, Omaha, NE 68144.  No bathrooms available at start.  Route is two 5k loops.  Event Workers are invited to walk at this time and to help test the map and directions.
  • Monday, November 4th  – 7 p.m.– Club Meeting at Morning Star Lutheran Church (lower level – Preschool Entrance), 331 S. 85th Avenue, Omaha, NE at 7:00 p.m.  
  • Saturday, November 9th morning – Pie Walk.  See address above for Countryside Community Church, a member of the Tri-Faith Initiative at 132nd & Pacific Streets.  Bring a pie to share and another to donate to a local homeless shelter!  Register from 9 a.m. to noon, off the trail by 3 p.m.  $2 Fun Walkers, $3 AVA/IVV Credit.
  • All 2020 One-Day Walks, Year Rounds and Seasonals have been adopted! New volunteers will be paired up with seasoned Trailmasters soon.  Check out our preliminary calendar, here.

Other Business:

  • We welcome Diana Webb to the position of Speakers’ Chairman.  Ann Drebot has served in that position for many, many years and will be helping Diana with the transition. If you know of any interesting speakers, please email the club at netrailblazers@gmail.com for Diana to research.
  • Our club needs to find a Secretary for the 2020 club year.  Time is of the essence to step forward! Our Board meetings are held before the club meetings; meeting time is limited to that first Monday of the month.  Can you help? Email us at netrailblazers@gmail.com.
  • Our newsletter editor, Julie Brown, is coming back for the November-December 2019 edition! Please have articles to her by mid-October.
  • Final call for “Walker of the Year” nominations!  These are sent to Julie Brown and are needed by mid-October.  She has already received nominations for three different people! Our club is blessed with talent and energy – thank you!

WALKING OPPORTUNITIES OUTSIDE OUR AREA

At our April club meeting, we talked about local and regional walking opportunities. Here is a map of upcoming One-Day Events in the North Central Region and a map of Spring Walking Weekends in the South Central Region. Locations shown on the maps may not be precise. Clicking on an icon will take you to walk details posted on www.ava.org, showing dates, times and exact directions to the walks.

North Central Region Traditional Events – remainder of 2019

South Central Region Spring Walks – from flyers sent to our club