Sunday, December 3, 2017

Winter Hiking Season

"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth."
-Walt Whitman

When the forecaster said we would be having more seasonable weather later in the week, meaning full winter gear is on the horizon, we headed for the trails. It may possibly be the last fare-weather hike we take in a while - or maybe not - Missouri weather can be fickle. But any excuse to hike, right? 

This is the third time we've been to this location, on the south side of Mark Twain National Forest. We were here first when we were scouting a location for our family pictures. We came back a second time to take our family pictures. It was on that trip that Eli spotted a trail head and we immediately made a mental note to come back. Which brings us today, our third visit. 

This is seriously the third abandoned metal frame bridge we've come across in this area, while exploring a new area. 

The beautiful view of Cedar Creek, to the West.

And to the East.

Wonder what this bridge will be in another 20 years.

The trail was clearly blazed in white diamonds.

Horses and hikers are welcome. Apparently, so are bicycles... but I wouldn't recommend them on this trail.

The trail was heavily blanketed in leaves hiding all the trip hazards beneath them.

We've seen this on two other trails, both in the Mark Twain trails. There's a gate because at certain times of the year, cows graze beyond this point. You can still hike it, but you have to close this gate behind you if it's closed when you get to it. One time on another trail, the trail took us within feet of the cow's watering hole, and they just stood and stared at us as we passed by.

But we didn't see any cows today.

Just on the other side of the woods, the trail opened up to this field. The weather was absolutely perfect for an open air hike. The sun wasn't blazing hot and it wasn't too windy, or wet.

The ground was beaten down by the feet of hikers.

It seemed like the most perfect place in the country to have a picnic. And what an easy hike to get there!

 At the bottom of the hill was this little watering hole, probably the result of a sinkhole which are common around here.

 There were lots of birds out today. I was surprised we didn't see more wildlife. I guess at this point in the year, they are probably settling into shelters somewhere.

Pretty soon, we backtracked and headed back into the woods. When we got home, we looked at the overhead map of this area and figured out that this trail does go in a loop, although part of the hike would be on gravel road and it's probably about 6-7 miles all the around. Maybe a spring hike?

 This is Eli saying, "I found you a walking stick!"

Back across a footbridge...

And then to the old abandoned metal bridge with a view of Cedar Creek

And the country road to take us home.

We got our hiking fix today! Bring on the cold weather. We're ready for it!

For more information on this trail system, visit the link here. 

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