Although I haven't been great about posting about it, we are still trying to do some of the 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of St. Louis.
There is one in particular that I've had my eye on since we got the book. The description is so lovely and the length was just right (3.8 miles). I've wanted to go for years, but the reality is that it is two hours away from us. Also, with the unknown, that can make for a very miserable day with a child who hates being hot and/or tired.
So, being as today was my first day with Sophia away at Cub Creek Camp, I decided to keep my mind off how much I miss her by finally going on this hike.
After a pretty lengthy jaunt along a ridge, I was starting to wonder when I was going to see some of the vistas promised in the book.
Finally, I came to this. Now, I've been on several hikes in Illinois that have this same view, so I admit that I was a little disappointed and confused. The "Little Grand Canyon" wasn't seeming very canyony.
Back at the beginning of the trail, there had been a sign that said the lower trails were closed because of flooding. However, since there weren't any actual barriers, and I'm sure the sign was old, I decided to take off on one of the lower trails.
While the trail was lovely and dotted with streams, I was having a hard time understanding the fuss. It just felt like I was in a steep valley more than a canyon.
Then, I happened upon the end of the trail, so to speak. The only way forward was down and through.
This was looking back up a draw after I had descended it. Now we were talking. I was not exactly positive that I was on the right path, but I came across some other hikers at just the moment I was starting to doubt.
After a lengthy hike and splash through lots of canyon like the one above, I emerged into this:
I'm still not sure exactly what that was, but the ground was still soft from flooding. The only way to go was to turn back into the woods. I wasn't sure I was on the right trail because through here it was all flat and cleared out from water. Footprints were helpful, but going many different directions. Then I noticed the diamond. I had seen them earlier but didn't need them. Once I spotted them on this side, I was grateful!
The rest of this lower hike was next to a steep cliff and a little stream. Very nice and peaceful. Then I came to the next sign.
Go back the way you came or up the draw. So, I went up the draw. The picture below is the first of many levels.
It was an incredibly fun hike. However, I won't be taking Sophia back with me. Even if she could make it up and down the draws without slipping or deal with the mosquitos, I'm sure she couldn't deal with the piles of larvae that I had to pass to get out of there.
So glad I took this little adventure! A rigorous hike with lots to see, but really none of the views I was expecting.