This place. This place was a total surprise. I’ve traveled all over the world, seen some of the most moving and bold landscapes ever. And while Missouri is beautiful, it’s not beautiful in the big, super raw, punch to the solar plexus way that, say, the Rockies are or southern Utah or coastal California. It leans toward pastoral beauty in the farmlands and rugged old beauty in the Ozarks, river beauty along the Missouri or the Mississippi. But Hickory Canyons was different. Somehow. This place was altering.
It is quiet—out of the way, off some gravel road. The feeling here is the opposite of Pickle Springs. There are no signs, no catchy names. Just the ground, just the trees, the water and the rocks. How good it felt here. There is some ground that transports you when you cross its boundaries, takes to to another place, someplace otherworldly. That was not this ground. This place was very… real. It caught me off guard and then guided me along the moss-lined path. This is a place that loosens your skin of the tautness from city life, from jobs and money and stress, that stretches you. This is a place that beckons your bones to sink into the soil and remember the sacredness of your humanity and your connection to what is under your feet. You know what Hickory Canyons reminded me of? A friend. Not the kind that is only interested in you when they need your ear or your shoulder or your stuff but never remembers your birthday. No, this place is the friend that makes you stew on a cold day, that calls bullshit when you need it called, that will laugh with you and get angry with you, and always sings to you on your birthday. How’s that for some geological anthropomorphization? It’s the best I can do, because the pictures don’t do it justice. I would walk this trail every day if I could.
And there you have it. A wonderful weekend full of geological wonders, hiking goodness, land-bonding, friends, food, drink, celebration, knitting, campfires, banana boats, and laughter. It’s good to get out and see the world.