116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Yeti hunt in Johnson County parks this winter
I-Spy-type events add thrill to outdoor exploration
Legend says the yeti lives in the Himalayan peaks of Asia, yet some people are spotting it in Johnson County parks this winter.
Johnson County Conservation is challenging outdoor enthusiasts — a distinction open to everyone — to get out and explore about a dozen county parks through mid-March to find the yeti.
“It’s 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide,” said Kristen Morrow, education specialist for Johnson County Conservation. “If you’ve made it to the right park and found the right spot, you definitely won’t miss it.”
During the COVID-I9 pandemic, the county started looking for ways to encourage people to get outside — even in the winter, when many of us become rooted to our couches. Conservation officials started holding scavenger hunts featuring pumpkins and elves in county parks.
“People who aren’t innately into hiking need that extra boost of thrill to find their goal,“ Morrow said. ”Different I-spy things during the year are super popular.“
The yeti first appeared in Johnson County in 2021, with county officials finding four different spots for her to hang out during the winter months. Sixty families found her all four weeks and dozens of others found her at least once. The level of engagement was surprising, especially given one hike was three miles and the weather that week didn’t get above 10 degrees, Morrow said.
“The winner in 2021 was a dad and a 5-year-old girl,” she noted.
The challenge this year is the same.
Read the clues on the Johnson County Conservation website and use the county’s collection of park guides to figure out where the yeti might be hiding. Go visit the park, take a photo of yourself with the yeti and email the photo to Morrow at email@example.com.
People tracking the yeti should be comfortable navigating and visiting more primitive park settings and hiking from one to four miles, sometimes off trails. About 12 Johnson County parks are big enough to allow hikers to walk at least a mile to find the yeti, Morrow said. Roadside parks and campgrounds are excluded.
The yeti will stay in the same location for two to three weeks at a time. The dates she will appear somewhere new are:
- Jan. 10
- Jan. 30
- Feb. 20
- March 6
The first clue (Jan. 10 through 30) is:
“Take a step back in time to the land of majestic oaks and wild fruit. You'll have to look left and right, off the beaten trail, towards the shaded heart of this geological gem. Make sure to take time to wander. Though small, the marshy views here are stunning.”
Johnson County parks
Cangleska Wakan, 4045 245th St. NE, Solon
Cedar River Crossing, 180th St., Solon
Ciha Fen Preserve, 5656 145th St., Lisbon
Clear Creek Area, 3196 Half Moon Ave. NW, Tiffin
F.W. Kent Park, 2048 Hwy. 6 NW, Oxford
Frytown Conservation Area, 2198 Angle Rd. SW, Kalona
Hills Access, 4210 520th St. SE, Hills
Pechman Creek Delta, 5875 Sand Rd. SE, Lone Tree
River Junction, 6051 River Junction Rd. SE, Lone Tree
Scott Church Park, 5409 American Legion Rd. SE, Iowa City
Solon Prairie, E. Fifth St., Solon
Sutliff Access, 130th St. NE, Lisbon
Walker Park, 6078 Otter Creek Rd. SE, Lone Tree
Williams Prairie State Preserve, Grabin Rd. NW, Oxford
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