It was easy to keep our distance from other people at Pammel State Park, a pretty 40-minute drive southwest of Des Moines in Madison County (as in “Bridges of…”), because there weren’t many people there. Which is why we picked it as our destination – the first after a month of staying very close to home during the pandemic lock down. Nice to have a change of scenery. The park is small, a wooden expanse with a cool 1920’s CCC wood and stone lodge and modest hiking trails. The coolest part was fording the Middle River in our SUV, paralleling a small dam. Driving through the gentle rush of water was the only way to get across. Not the best-marked park but friends advised us to cross the river to the quietest hiking trails near the lodge. It almost felt like a normal spring day except the public bathrooms were closed, as were the shops along the lovely square by the old stone courthouse in Winterset, the county seat.