Take a bite of summer

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(Photo by Evan Feekes)

Are you ready to pie-cycle your way across Iowa? For a tasty treat during RAGBRAI, consider making this fun pie! While pie is always in season, summer brings a multitude of fruit for fillings. One of the new staff favorites here at INHF is this raspberry pie with chocolate crust. Continue reading

RAGBRAI route on Iowa By Trail

The IBT crew gets excited at RAGBRAI.

The IBT crew had a blast at last year’s RAGBRAI.

RAGBRAI is almost here, and Iowa By Trail is ready! We’ve added the route to the app, featuring points of interest along the entire stretch, including restaurants, museums and INHF public projects. Plus, we’ve added all the locations from Team Brewhaha’s unauthorized and unofficial bar guide XLIII.

And make sure to come say hi—we’ll be at RAGBRAI all week! We’ll have a booth at the expo and the overnight towns. Preview some of the merch we’ll be selling here. Continue reading

Biking the Amana Colonies

Kolonieweg in Amana, by Eric Utterback

The Kolonieweg trail running through Amana means “Colony Way.” (Photo by Eric Utterback)

Looking for somewhere new to explore on two wheels this holiday weekend? Check out the new gravel bike routes in the Amana Colonies! The two new routes allow riders to immerse themselves in the histories of Middle, High and West Amana. Continue reading

Celebrate National Trails Day with a historic snack—trail mix

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Photo by Cary Bass-Deschenes on Flickr via Creative Commons. No changes were made.

IowaByTrail_main1 COPYHappy National Trails Day! We know you’re gearing up to get outside and explore Iowa’s trails with the Iowa By Trail app, so consider bringing along a satisfyingly sweet and salty snack — trail mix.

Trail mix, or gorp (said to be an acronym for “good old raisins and peanuts” or “granola, oatmeal, raisins and peanuts”), has ancient roots. Nomadic tribes used to mix together dried fruit, nuts and meat together to take on long journeys. They needed lightweight, high energy, nutritious food that didn’t require cooking and could be stored for long periods of time. Native Americans had their own version of trail mix — pemmican, which consisted of dried buffalo, moose, or caribou mixed with dried berries and animal fat — that lasted for months.

Despite this history, two companies, Harmony Foods and Hadley Fruit of Orchards of California, claim that the name “trail mix” was invented by surfers who mixed together peanuts and raisins to keep up their energy. In New Zealand, trail mix is called scroggin, which supposedly stands for sultanas, chocolate, raisins, and other goody-goodies including nuts (but that’s most likely just folk etymology). Many European countries named the mix as a staple for students, a cheap snack usually accompanying a drink. For example, in Denmark, it’s known as Studenterhavre, “student oats,” and in Germany it’s known as Studentenfutter, “student feed.” Whichever word or meaning you choose to use, this treat will still taste delicious.

Trail mix in a great on the go, and can be made easily with whatever you have on hand. The key is to mix salty and sweet flavors and crunchy and soft textures. You can find an easy, versatile recipe for trail mix here. Some of my favorite additions to trail mix are coconut chips, crystallized ginger, pumpkin seeds, sesame sticks, pretzels and dark chocolate chips. Fuel up for the trail with your own favorite combination, and continue to explore trails with Iowa By Trail all summer long!

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Parks of Gay Lea Wilson Trail

Featured on the Iowa By Trail app, Gay Lea Wilson Trail extends for 35 miles in Polk County, through Des Moines, Altoona, Pleasant Hill and Ankeny. Along the way, six parks–we feature five here–offer riders a chance to take a break and enjoy Iowa’s natural beauty. Continue reading

Celebrating one year of Iowa By Trail

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It’s hard to believe a year has passed since the Iowa By Trail app launched last spring. The app has allowed users across the state to:

  • Geo locate their position and find their closest trail.
  • Find points of interest along Iowa’s trails, like local restaurants, museums and natural resource information.
  • Communicate with friends and followers about what they did along the trail.
  • Keep track of distance, weather, news and trail events.

We couldn’t be more thankful for all our members’ support of IBT, and we look forward to the future of Iowa trails. Before looking ahead, though, let’s a take a look back at our journey: Continue reading

Celebrate Iowa By Trail’s Android launch at the Iowa Bike Expo

Visit INHF at the Iowa Bike Expo on Saturday, Jan. 24, and help us celebrate the launch of Iowa By Trail for Android!

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Since the iPhone version launched last summer, Iowa By Trail has been used more than 58,000 times, and now Android users will have access to this free resource. Join us at the expo to learn more! Plus, don’t miss these opportunities:

  • Enter for a chance to win a free Iowa By Trail bike jersey.
  • Share the Iowa By Trail app on Facebook or Twitter during the expo on Saturday and be entered to win some great bike swag!
  • Buy Iowa By Trail merchandise.

One of the biggest bike shows in the Midwest, the Iowa Bike Expo will feature trail, event and equipment exhibitors from all over the country. Educational seminars will help you learn more about bike advocacy, the latest consumer trends and new places to ride. As if that’s not enough, it’s also a great time to stock up on gear. This free one-day expo will be from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines on Jan. 24.

Help us promote your trails!

INHF will also be at the Iowa Bicycle Summit on Friday, Jan. 23. Drop by our table to learn how you can promote your trail and help us make Iowa By Trail even better.

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Trail Tuesday: Wabash Trace Nature Trail

Every Tuesday, look for a new featured trail story on our blog – part of our new “Trail Tuesday” series. This will be a way for you to learn about all the different trails we have to offer on our Iowa By Trail app. If you like what you read you can download the app and go explore! For any questions on these trails, email ibt@inhf.org.

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This week’s featured trail is Wabash Trace Nature Trail. Continue reading

Iowa By Trail app receives $40,000 Wellmark Foundation challenge grant

trails-info-2The Iowa By Trail app, a project of Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF), has received a $40,000 challenge grant from The Wellmark Foundation for projects that promote community and individual health.

“We’re ecstatic to be partnering with Wellmark to help complete the first portion of our Iowa By Trail app project,” said Hannah Inman, INHF Communications Director. “Iowa By Trail is the first app of its kind in the nation allowing Iowans to explore 1,800 miles of multi-use trails around the state using their smartphone. It’s a platform to showcase and brand Iowa’s premier trail system, allowing people to more easily access and use Iowa’s extensive trail system as well as the communities along it. The app helps users find trails closest to them, discover interesting stops along the way—restaurants, state parks, restrooms—and keeps users updated on trail closures and events.” Continue reading

Trail Tuesday: Trout Run Trail

Every Tuesday, look for a new featured trail story on our blog – part of our new “Trail Tuesday” series. This will be a way for you to learn about all the different trails we have to offer on our Iowa By Trail app. If you like what you read you can download the app and go explore! For any questions on these trails, email ibt@inhf.org.

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This week’s featured trail is Trout Run Trail.

Continue reading