We love that we have so many state parks close to our home! As the Autumn leaves were fading last weekend, we decided to head out to a new trail at Cuivre River State Park in Troy, Missouri. We chose to try out a new trail, The Old Schoolhouse Trail. The description said that it had the foundation of a one-room schoolhouse, so we were excited to see that as well as views of Lake Lincoln.
There is not much elevation to this hike. It is pretty much a walk in the woods. The trail is nice and wide. The views of the lake are very nice. We had a great time on the trail looking at the remnants of the Fall colors.
Check out our hike below. Thanks for watching and keep on trekking!
As we approach Veterans' Day, I got to thinking about our trip to Shiloh National Military Park over Memorial Day weekend. Any trip to a National Cemetery is a sobering one. Battlefields are never celebratory places, instead they are places of remembrance. In its place on the river in the Tennessee, Shiloh is beautiful, but as we traveled around through the process of the battle, we couldn't help feel saddened by the lives lost in that place. There are several mass graves on the battlefield where soldiers are not identified, but instead buried with those they fought and fell with under the title of "Confederate Dead". In thinking on Veterans' Day, I hope that this reality doesn't come to pass again in our American History.
During our visit, the National Park Service was holding Cannon Fire Demonstrations. A Park Ranger would describe the process of firing the cannon during the Civil War and re-enactors would go through the process and then fire the cannon. It was so bone jarring with one cannon! Imagining many firing at the same time as well as gun fire is not possible for us. Please see the demonstration below.
While our tour of Shiloh Battlefield was not "fun," it was touching and reverent. As we walk into most National Parks with a sense of reverence, this National Military Park was even more so. Please take a moment this Veterans' Day to thank all the Veterans that have fought to allow our country to be a place worth living in. We are exceeding grateful for their service on our behalf.
This year, Missouri has been vibrant with Autumn colors through the end of October and the first of November. We have enjoyed being outside so much in the last month! Our eyes have been assailed with colors at every turn.
We started our Autumn color hunting in the beginning of October with Elephant Rocks State Park and found that the foliage was just starting to turn.
Those color were good and ERSP is always a great road trip, but what was waiting at the end of October was even more fantastic!
The third weekend of October was rainy, but we had signed up for a guided hike with St Charles County Parks Department, so we hit the trails in the rain. We weren't sure how nice the colors were going to be int he rain, but we were SO surprised!
These colors at Klondike Park were pretty, but there was still so much green out there that we knew that it would get better. The first week of November was so busy that by the time Saturday rolled around, we needed to get outside for an escape. We were told that we should try out Matson Hill Park in Defiance, MO. We had not been there yet, so we decided to give it a try. HOLY COW! The park is for trails only (hikers and mountain bikes) and the COLORS were unbelievable! It was one of those time when we knew that this was the best medicine for our weekly blues.
We appreciate you reading all of this and watching our videos. We are trying some new things with the vlogs. Please let us know what you think. Until next time, keep on trekking!
Getting up before dawn is TOTALLY worth it for hikes like this! We drove the 45 minutes north from Las Vegas, NV to get to Valley of Fire State Park. It was a great idea in July! We arrived at the park before 7:00am and were greeted by some 4-legged residents of the park. The bighorn sheep were very fun to watch and a great way to start our visit.
Our next stop is the parking lot at the Fire Wave Trailhead. The Fire wave is a Aztec Sandstone formation that looks like an ocean wave. It was a Beautiful way to start our day in the desert.
This wasn't the only hike we took in Valley of Fire State Park. You can see the rest of our visit below. It is a place we will certainly visit again.
Until next time, keep on trekking!
On a rainy Sunday afternoon, we headed out to meet the St Charles County Parks Department for a guided hike at Klondike Park. We found this event on their Facebook Page. We had never attended such an event with the the Parks Department, so we were hoping that it would be something we enjoyed and not "just for kids".
We met Bekin and Tom at Picnic Shelter #1 and realized that we were the only one's that signed up for the hike (and it was raining), so the hike would be whatever we needed it to be. Our guides were friendly and knowledgable. They both wanted us to have a great time in their park and to show us unique places and plants that we might not know about. They accomplished that goal.
On the first part of our day, we hiked around the Lake Loop. We learned about endemic and invasive plants in our area. We decided to use this as an opportunity to try a Live Stream on YouTube. The connectivity wasn't always what the stream needed to be, but it was a fun "first try".
On the Second part of the event, we got to hike the Power Line Trail. It was a new Trail for Happy Trails Hiking and we were excited for the "new roads". Our edited video from that part of the adventure is. below. Special thanks to Bekin and Tom for allowing us to video the hike. We had a great time at will take part in these events when we are able. Keep on Trekking!
About October every year, people start wondering where and when we will see Fall colors. Well, in the last couple of years, we have traveled and trekked to some great places for Fall colors. We have put them all in one place here.
The list is: Robertsville State Park, Meramec State Park, Hughes Mountain Natural Area (Devil's Honeycomb), Elephant Rocks State Park, Johnson's Shut-ins State Park and Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. There is so much beauty in this 135 miles! You'll be glad you made the trip! We have some great tips on hikes in each of these areas as well! We hope you will get out and find your own Fall adventure in Missouri!
Until next time, keep on Trekking!
We needed a 3-day weekend for this Park Adventure (and we still only got an introduction). Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a smaller part of the National Park Service, but it has so many vistas to see and exploring to be done. Lake Michigan provides a lovely back drop for most every adventure at the Lakeshore, but the inland marshes and bogs are beautiful in their own ways.
With 15 miles of lakeshore, 15,000 acres of land, and 50 miles of trails, there is more than enough space to explore and learn about at Indiana Dunes NL. We started at the Visitor's Center on National Public Lands Day. The park volunteer there recommended Cowles Bog Trail. We made that first on our list! It was a fantastic morning hike!
Our next adventure led us to Lakeshore Drive. We stopped at beaches, historic houses, and dunes. We wish we would have had more time in the area. We will be back some day. It was a great relaxing weekend out in our public lands! Until next time, keep on Trekking!
On September 23, 2017, we attended the reenactment of the Battle of Pilot Knob in Ironton, MO and participated in the first ever Cannonball Haul Hiking Race. It was hosted by the Arcadia Valley Trails Association and the City of Ironton, MO. The Cannonball Haul took place on Shepherd Mountain. Shepherd Mountain was used for cannon emplacement during the Battle of Pilot Knob during the Civil War. The trail was about 3.5 miles long with a steep or less steep option at the trail head.
Our day was filled with beauty and history as we tackled the mountain and then took in action at the reenactment.
Thanks to all who took part in the day, especially, Mayor Bob Lourwood and "Ozark Matt", the race director of the Cannonball Haul. It was a great day and we will be looking forward to more hiking events in this wonderful area again.
Until next time, keep on trekking!
We have now visited Virgin River Recreation Area twice. The first time, in March, we needed a place for a bathroom stop on our way from Death Valley NP to Zion NP.
From the web site Recreation.gov:
"Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area is located along I-15 approximately 20 miles southwest of St. George, Utah and 20 miles east of Mesquite, Nevada. The recreation area has easy access to Interstate-15 from Cedar Pocket Exit (Mile Post 18). The Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area consists of campground and day-use area. Overnight use fee is $8 per site (up to 2 vehicles) and day-use fee is $2 per vehicle."
We have often thought of this place in Nevada, but it is in the Northwest Corner of Arizona. (Lots of canyons and no cell service.)
Each trip shows a different side of the plants and the river. First the one from March 2017:
Muddy river in March! Not at all what we thought the virgin River would be. In July, we decided to stop to see the difference. We spent a nice time there and enjoyed watching the lizards. A totally different view! Take a look!
Until next time, keep on trekking!
When people mention Johnson's Shut-ins State Park, other say, "I love it there!" When asked what trails they like, they normally can't name one. We have enjoyed Johnson's Shut-ins State Park many time throughout the years on and off the trails. Here's our take on this beautiful Missouri State Park.
"The Johnston family was among the early Scots-Irish settlers in this area that came west from the hilly countryside of Appalachia in search of better land. Here they found fertile valleys, vast uncut forests and plenty of room for homesteading. By 1829, they had established a farm. Three generations of Johnston (the “t” was later dropped) families once worked this land and 36 members of the family are buried in the small cemetery in the park. By 1900, many of the families that formed the self-sufficient community of Monterey moved away. Eventually, St. Louis resident Joseph Desloge bought much of the land, donating it for a state park in 1955.
In December 2005, the main use area in the East Fork of the Black River valley was changed dramatically. The nearby Taum Sauk Reservoir, a hydroelectric power station, breached, sending 1.3 billion gallons of water down Proffit Mountain. The water, carrying tons of trees, debris and boulders, scoured the mountainside and destroyed or extensively damaged facilities in the park, including the campground. It also altered the landscape of the valley and the East Fork of the Black River in the park. This event changed the park forever and has become part of the history of Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park. This area of the park has been redeveloped and many of the features and facilities in the main day-use area are the result of this redevelopment."
The above information was from the State Park Website.
Since the Shut-ins are the most popular part of the park, we knew we needed to feature them in a video. The problem we were running into was there were always TONS of people there and didn't make for the best filming. We decided to camp to be closer to the trailhead really early in the morning. This is the result of that experience. Please enjoy the solitude!
The shut-ins aren't the ONLY thing to see at the park. They have a wonderful visitor and education center as well as several trails to hike to find out more about the area and its history and geology. You can see more in our Park Tour from last year. Let us know int he comments about your experiences in this awesome Missouri State Park. Until next time, keep on trekking!
Kay and Matt enjoy hiking all over the USA. We have a YouTube Channel to video our adventures, this blog, and we are working on building an app to allow others to go on adventures too.
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