The Trail below shows the start and stop for the day. This was an out and back, so I covered the same trail coming back, but it always looks different to me going in the opposite direction
As I suspected I was the only one at the trail head at 9:30 am on a Thursday
the weather was typical Missouri summer weather. It had rained last night and that only served to increase the humidity. It was overcast with some light drizzly rain.
example of the normal sign posts in the park. the trails have names on the map, but are given icons on the trail posts. The Chubb trail is the tree with blue back ground. the Flint Quarry Loop is the "rock slide" icon.
The trail goes mostly downhill from the picnic table
As it drops lower you start to get more lush overgrown vegetation. you don't need to worry about eating a big meal before hiking on a Missouri trail in the summer. If you are the first one on the trail you will be getting your fair share of extra protein in the form of spiders and spider webs in the face.
Internet web photo below but pretty typical
Reaching the bottom of the hill you enter the Meramec River flood plain. This is very fertile land that was some of the first settlements (farms) in the area.
Along the Meramec River portion
the rain last night, but mostly recent flooding has actually washed away parts of the trail (they have been re-routed with pink flagging tape) and made others very muddy
one of the feeder creeks into the Meramec River, dry now, but very dangerous during flash flood times
At the 5 mile mark the trail crosses the railroad tracks again and heads for Lone Elk park. It is also teh start of the Castlewood Loop. I planned to turn around here and was glad there was some flat dry area around the tracks to have a rest and some lunch
there is always this feeling to rush or keep moving when I am alone. I need to stop more and relax.
I did actually sit here for a whole 30 minutes.
The view from my lunch spot. The sun was not shining but the temps were still close to 85 degrees F with the same amount of humidity.
red tailed hawk? feather
Quite drenched with sweat in the end, but a very nice diverse walk. On a slightly cooler day, the extra 4 miles to Lone Elk and all the way back would have been easily doable in a morning walk.