People on float trip get a workout, history lesson at the same time

People getting ready to kayak and canoe at the Des Moines River in Austin County Park.

Archaeologists Joe Artz and his wife Cherie guided people on Kayaks and canoes along the Des Moines River Valley for an afternoon float trip.

â??Joe will be talking about the deep history, how the river got here,â?? Cherie Haury-Artz said. â??I'll be talking about the pre-history and the history along the river.â??

The Lower Des Moines River has been inhabited for thousands of years.

â??There's evidence, surface finds from Van Buren County that people were here in the late Paleo-Indian period, probably at least as early as 10,500 years ago geologically," Haury Artz said. "There are exposures of Lacey Keosauqua State Park dating back to the Mississippi Pennsylvania periods way more than 300 million years.â??

Participants met up at the Austin County Park for a brief safety and history lesson.

â??It sounds like we may have to get out and push our canoe, so yeah, we should get some exercise,â?? participant Mindy Kralicek said.

From there they headed out for a six-mile paddle trip.

â??We've got a couple places we're going to stop, one of them is actually a geo-archeologist, so we're gonna look at some geology along the way,â?? Julie Ohde, Pathfinders RC&D Project Manager said. â??The float trip goes through Lacey Keosauqua State Park so we'll be stopping along the way to be seeing some things at the park and just stopping on some sand bars along the way and talking.â??

They explored evidence of the past all the way to the Keosauqua Boat Ramp.

â??The rivers tell the story, as they're cut down, they're exposing a timeline in the soil and the rocks,â?? Haury-Artz said. â??We donâ??t always see everything you're not going to see archaeological sites are fairly invisible, we don't leave a lot of surface manifestations here but often you can see things exposed in the profiles.â??

The float trip was free and sponsored by Pathfinders, The University of Iowa Office of State Archaeologists and the Iowa DNR.