End Of The Year Walk- Meramec State Park Dec 31 '16

Our friend Cory has had a goal this year to walk to run 500 miles. I have been able to accompany him on several of these walks. He was able to culminate the accomplishment on the last day of the year and was kind enough to invite me and Joe, along with his entire family to participate and celebrate his accomplishment. I actually have never walked the Wilderness Trail in Meramec State Park so I was looking forward to doing the 8.4 mile loop.

 Black Bears are becoming more prevalent in Missouri now and while they should all be asleep by now, I think it will be sooner than later before I get to see one on the trails in Missouri

The weather was also great for the final walk of the year. It got to be in the 50's and sunny by the end.
(left to right) Jenn, Riley, Taylor and Cory ready to get the last 8 miles to reach 500 

Missouri trails are pretty brown in the winter as most go from creek bed (hollow) to rolling hill top and back as they weave across the landscape 

The park does have some distinct zones. Moving from Hardwoods to Pine (above) to cleared Savannah due to fire 

 The wilderness trail is a nice trail with a couple of connector trails to make it shorter or better yet longer by taking the connectors in various directions. It also has several campsites around the loop and we saw at least 8 tents today from people camping last night

break time

a variety of things still green along the trail 

The park is known for its Bat Caves and we saw several around the loop that were closed off to protect the bats inside from getting any disease from people during their hibernation. The park also has many springs from this small one (below)

The water is crystal clear but with a bit of a mineral taste from all the chert and other sedimentary rock in the ground 

The much larger Meramec Spring was blooming with life and color. Right in front of another Bat Cave. I am sure the bats appreciate all the insect life the spring draws

 A view of the Meramec River from one of the bluffs on the trail

 Fire clearing some of the forest (above) and a clearing view (Below)

 3 hours on the trail for the 8.4 miles and at the end a great Coffee Stout from one of our local craft beer makers (Schlafy)

Thanks to Cory and family for letting me come along on your great accomplishment for 2016. While I can't say I am not happy to see the backside of 2016, it is always great to be on the trail at anytime.
See you in 2017.


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