This Way to Adventure!
Every September, we go camping in honor of our friend Hollie’s birthday. You know Hollie as Kittyraja (from her awesome natural dyeing linked in my posts). This year Hollie chose to go camping at Hawn State Park in Ste. Gen. County. Many much fun was had. What more can you ask for than beautiful nature, good food and drink, and fabulous friends and family to share it with? Hollie chose well.
Some of the most beautiful and most unique places in the state of Missouri are in Ste. Genevieve County which borders the Mississippi River on one side and the beginnings of the Ozarks on the other. It is an area full of fertile farmland, high wooded ridges, lush vineyards, and gorgeous rock formations—in particular, the Cambrian LaMotte Sandstone. While we camped at Hawn, we did not hike any of the trails there this time. Instead we went to nearby Pickle Springs Natural Area, which we’d been to only once before, and another area which was totally new to us called Hickory Canyons. The links I’ve provided are short and give concise descriptions of the geological importance and the myriad of flora and fauna that are unique to each area. They are worth a read so that you understand why these places are such amazing natural wonders.
Below is a pictorial account of the hiking we did at Hawn earlier this summer and some views of our lovely birthday celebratory weekend. I also included a few shots of Ste. Genevieve, which is the oldest European settlement west of the Mississippi. Enjoy. :D
Pickle Creek (named after Mr. Pickle, not, you know, because it smells like pickles or anything).
Path through the pine-oak forest.
Many parts of this trail look down over steep ridges.
After a controlled burn.
Larger section—you can see the height to which the undergrowth and trees are burned.
Big rocks everywhere. Son is just under 5′ for scale.
Yes, he made it to the top.
View from the top of the trail.
Many gorgeous ferns along the creek, in the woods, and growing along and in the bluffs.
This hike was earlier in the summer, during the ridiculous heat and long drought. The wildflowers were few and far between and were a welcome bit of colour.
And the ones we did see were either purple or yellow. I always forget to take my Missouri wildflower guide book with me on these hikes. I’ve yet to identify these two.
We saw quite a few fallen trees. Not unusual in these areas, as it’s part of the conservation effort to leave them. What was strange was the number of them that came up with the rootball intact. We saw at least six like this, and this is not a small tree. That root mass is easily 8 or more feet across.
Many parts of Pickle Creek are lined with bluffs.
One more parting shot of the lovely Pickle Creek.
The weather was gorgeous for our camping weekend.
Beautiful sunset. We couldn’t see it for the forest, but the clouds overhead revealed it like a Maxfield Parrish painting.
And it just kept on going.
Until it was almost…
And so we started a campfire, warmed ourselves against the autumn chill, ate good food, drank good metheglin, and talked into the night.
Old old Ste Gen.
See? For America, this is pretty old.
My favorite art shop in Ste. Genevieve: Only Child Originals. She sells handcrafted jewelry and garden art and lights and cool, cool things.
All the historic houses in Ste. Gen. are marked with the original owner and the date it was built.
Very few of the homes that I could see were used as residences. Most have been turned into shops, cafes, and restaurants.
A number of the old houses in Ste. Gen. are boarded up. I hope that someone can renovate this one before it falls down. You can tell that back in the day, she was a beauty.
Some of the historic buildings, like this one, are better kept than others. You can tell that Ste. Genevieve has had a lot of ups and downs with the economy. The main attraction for the area right now is with all the wineries. I hope that the town is able to maintain its historic treasures. Much of what we saw was in need of a fair amount of repair and a good coat of paint. But the charm is all there. It’s a neat little town.
Next time I’ll show you the amazing (even if funnily named) Pickle Springs Natural Area. I love camping and hiking adventures!