Eastern Iowans Thankful for Mother Nature's Holiday Cooldown

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa – Many enjoyed the nice break from work on Labor Day, but Mother Nature also took some-what of a break.

The hot temperatures from last week, dropped off to create a beautiful day. Many spent the day outdoors. Palisades-Kepler State Park in Mount Vernon was a popular spot.

Everything from tears to laughter filled the holiday.

In fact, it was a bitter-sweet Labor Day for Austin Schantz and his family. The 19-year-old kicked off a trip to kayak the Mississippi River, starting at the Cedar River.

"[I] just thought of this dream I wanted to do, and I'm not going to let life hold me back," Schantz said.

With just belongings in his boat, he's planning to eventually end his trip at the Gulf of Mexico.

"It's a great day to start," Schantz said.

Connor Nebergall would agree: Monday was a great day. He smiled from ear to ear while skipping rocks and splashing around in the river with his family.

"It wasn't that deep and, it got cold after so long," Nevergall said.

Everyone has a different way of spending the day off from work. The green leaves and the sparkling river lured many people to the park.

"It's been great. It's pretty busy and the sun is out," said Emily Van Oosbree. "The sky is really blue. It's a gorgeous park -- our first time here, and we've really been enjoying it."

After a steamy start to the weekend, some said the best day of the holiday break was Monday.

"Today (Monday) is the one day it has been nice, and everybody is leaving, so we get the place to ourself," said Tom Hobson while camping at Palisades-Kepler State Park.

Hobson has one more night at the park, but most, like his friend Tom Laing, are heading out.

"All good things must come to an end," Laing said. "If you are always on vacation, it's not special anymore."

As the Schantz family watched Austin paddle away in his kayak, however, they're already waiting for another holiday.

"I just want to be back by Christmas, but it'll probably be closer to Thanksgiving," Schantz said.

Some said they were not quite ready for the end of summer, but know fall is just around the corner.
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