Peoples' Weather Map


Sailing on Hot Summer Days

Spirit Lake, Dickinson County, Iowa

Since humans first encountered the lakes of Dickinson County, they must have used them for respite from the hot, humid days of Iowa summers. A part of that summer relief for settlers in the area and for summer residents of the lakes region was and is the opportunity to sail. For non-Iowans, sailing in Iowa seems a contradiction in terms. But not for Okoboji sailors. One such lifelong sailor and Dickinson County native is David Thoreson who began his career on the waters of Lake Okoboji but honed it in waters more vast. Among his sailing ventures of a combined 65,000 nautical miles were trips to the North Pole and the Northwest Passage. There, where once ice challenged his and any sailor’s ability to navigate even at the height of summer, now the sailor finds open water, the effects of melting of the ice in the Arctic Ocean in recent decades.
A photographer by trade, Thoreson has taken thousands of photographs of his travels and logged many narratives in his journal. Among the results is the book Over the Horizon: Exploring the Edges of a Changing Planet. The book and his shared photographs online as well as in his Dickinson County gallery all tell stories of sailing on warming waters, even when those waters are at the Poles.

Sources: Reflections in the Water: A Pictorial History of the Iowa Great Lakes, Spirit Lake, 1998;;