On our way out to Colorado, we had a mission: visit the final 4 states in the lower 48. Somehow, we had managed to skirt around Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri, and we knew we could make it happen. We had originally hoped to reach our 48th state on or just before Bird’s 3rd birthday, but getting there a week later was still a pretty impressive feat.
Our criteria for “crossing off a state” is that we need to walk at least 1 mile within the state. So, we booked a campsite in Missouri along the Missouri/Kansas border and made a day of going to Iowa, Nebraska, and finally Kansas (we had already walked many miles in Missouri).
We used AllTrails to find trails nearby and crossed the rest off in one fell swoop. Unfortunately, we did not account for the surging mid-May heatwave across the Plains, and the hikes, while pretty, were actually rather uncomfortable between the heat, lack of shade, and ticks. (Since our initial visit to Nebraska, we have been back and increased our mileage, but I can’t say for sure when we will purposefully return to Iowa!)
Even though our campsite was in Missouri, we were just across the river from Atchison, Kansas, which we had the opportunity to explore even more in the following days. We had so much fun visiting Amelia Earhart’s birthplace (with all the airplane decor) and the quaint little local museum chock-full of historical anecdotes and trains.
While I had crossed the 48th state off my personal list in Washington last year and Will hit his a few weeks after that in Nevada, it felt like quite an accomplishment to be able to say that we have been to the 48 lower states together, as a family.