Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CITA Ales and Trails

The focus of this past weekend was the CITA Ales and Trails event. This was put together by CITA as a way to celebrate its 10 year anniversary in a family friendly atmosphere. It took place at the Whiterock Conservancy south of Coon Rapids. The weather forecast took its toll, as only half of the expected number of people attended. We spent part of the morning walking around the Riverhouse, barn and exploring the flower gardens. Liz Garst gave an excellent talk on the history and mission of the Whiterock Conservancy, including a detailed account of the visit of Nikita Kruschev during the late 50's. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch and caught up on the Iowa/ISU football game.

The afternoon found some people taking naps, enjoying a guided nature hike through parts of the conservancy, canoeing on the Raccoon River, and/or biking on some of the 30 miles of trails that wind their way through the 4000+ acres we were on. Afternoon gave way into evening, and that meant dinner. While Sammy worked the grill, Justin and I acted as sous chefs and prepped the beans, rice and helped Sammy out in any way we could so he could keep his eyes on the grill. In the end, we had grilled chicken kabobs, burgers, dogs, and a bunch of other food and desert for people to enjoy. The rest of the evening was spent listening and dancing to the music of Brother Trucker in the Riverside Barn.

This was a fun weekend, and it was nice to see so many people attend the event with their kids, enjoying the outdoors and the company of others. Due to untimely illness, Kathy and Conor weren't able to come up. I know Kathy was looking forward to spending some time in the canoes for part of the weekend. It sounds like CITA is in the process of planning a similar event next year. Hopefully the weather cooperates and more people are able to attend and enjoy the conservancy.

As always, I took some photos. So did Squirrel, and Justin

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