Rock Bridge State Park and Whetstone Conservation Area
Had a great time at two mid-MO outdoor areas today. This was a day that replaced a missed opportunity to meet up with our youngest son David, and his girlfriend - a bout with some non-pandemic variety viruses being the culprit for the missed date. Anyway, David and I were both well, he was off for the MLK holiday, and so we honored the day with some outdoor bonding time.
My day started with a very eye-opening interaction with a tender soul, Kevin, a forty-two year old man down on his luck. I came across Kevin at an I-70 truck stop. He wanted money or food or both. I agreed to help with food, and also gave him some thoughts on how he might be able to locate shelter as he had no place to live and a car that was barely running. Though I loved my day with David, I could not get Kevin completely out of my head for the rest of the day.
But as I left the truck stop and got on the interstate for the hour and a half drive, the rainy and cloudy skies cleared, and I was able to refocus the majority of my thoughts on my upcoming time with David. He and I have always functioned at our best together when in the outdoors - I always look forward to these times. Our destination was Rock Bridge State Park just south of Columbia. As I approached the area, it really struck me that Columbia had really sprawled outwards, but as I got close, the area returned to the way I remembered it from the mid-1980s…I have been back to the area a few times since I guess.
There are some really cool features in the park, perhaps the highlight being Devil’s Icebox Cave. We had both seen it quite a few times and it was kind of overrun with people, so we hit the trails and covered about 4.8 miles of a variety of terrain…up and down and through creek drainages and through a forest that is regenerating after clearly being cleared sometime in the not too far past. Bon Femme Creek is quite pretty through the area, even when pretty low as it was today.
After some really nice hiking on a warm but windy day, we hit one of our favorite places to eat in COMO for lunch. We continued our pleasant conversations over lunch and then parted ways after some awesome time together.
On my return trip, I wanted a little more time traipsing around, so I stopped at the beautiful Whetstone Creek Conservation Area. It’s mostly prairie, but has some pretty forested areas, smaller fishing lakes and ponds, and of course Whetstone Creek. There are a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities here, including hunting, fishing, and camping. Besides some photography, I got in a very leisurely run. I was really glad I stopped.
I just about always feel better having spent time in the outdoors, and particularly enjoy it when I spend it with people I care about.
If you have any questions about either of these two areas, don’t hesitate to get in touch.