I was born and raised in Iowa. Yes, Iowa. And despite common misconceptions, Iowa is a really cool place with awesome geology. I grew up along the Mississippi River, the banks of which are loaded with exceptional rock exposures. Burlington, the place where I was born and raised, is not only proximal to the Mississippian type section; it's loaded with fossil crinoids. In fact, Burlington is often referred to as the Crinoid Capital of the World. Who needs mountains for inspiration when you have crinoids? Crinoids are older than mountains, they have greater diversity, and they crawl, eat, evolve, reproduce, and swim without brains. That's impressive. Besides, you can't throw a mountain in your pack and take it home.