The first time I heard of the Ozarks was when our friend, Larry Hurst, accepted a job transfer there. At least how he described his families new home – AMAZING. Now we know and understand the beauty of this part of the country.
I developed my wanderlust as a young child, exploring a ranch around Colorado Springs. So no wonder I really enjoy hiking. Bill grew up hunting and exploring the great outdoors. So when we want to take a bit of a vacation, we look, or actually, he looks for places to hike. Somehow, that is a skill he developed when we started traveling in an RV.
Now that we have decided not to buy a Class B or any RV now, we are taking trips “resort” style. To buy the Class B we wanted, it was going to cost at least $120,000 IF we could even find that one. Yes, they are hard to find right now. So let’s divide that up and see how many “vacations” we could take in the next five years for the same amount of money. Let’s start with easy math: $120,000 divided by 5 = $24,000 a year. We honestly only want to go for a week approximately four times a year. At our age, we do prefer the routine we have at home. BUT in traveling, we hope it will keep our minds and bodies sharp and in shape. Anyway, that equals $6,000/week. We can certainly enjoy a vacation/trip for that amount! HOWEVER, if you know us, we are budget shoppers and we are pretty good at finding budget vacations (click to see our two Colorado vacations in 2011 and 2012). So our bottom line to a Class B, we also don’t want all the head aches associated with them and we want flexibility. So with that said, here is our first vacation/travel blog!
Holiday Inn Club Vacations – Timber Creek Resort, Desoto, Missouri. How on earth did Bill find this place? Remember, he knows how to find great areas to hike. The fact that his brother and my aunt live “out” that way, meant we would also make two family visits while traveling. It is hard for us to not include family in our long trips. It was so interesting to re-read our first vacation out to Colorado in 2011….somethings never change! I discussed how important it is for me to not just travel, but see family on the way to or from the location. We’ve also decided we are only driving wherever we go during these pandemic times. So of course, this adds a time element to our trips we have to factor in.
10/9/2021 Upon arrival at the resort, we were very pleased with the outside appearance. “Curb appeal” is so important, as we hear on one of our favorite shows on HGTV. A few pictures:
We settled in and were very pleased with our surroundings. We decided to watch church in the morning, so I realized we needed an HDMI so I could connect our computer to the TV and join church “live.” I called the desk to ask if they had one I could borrow. Sure, and an employee brought it with in the hour. He also offered to hook it up. Now that is service, but I since I do it frequently, we didn’t need help.
10/10/2021 Mooner’s Hollow Trail in St. Francois State Park, Bonne Terre. As soon as we arrive to a hiking area, I pull up All Trails to look for the best trails close by. It was a good thing we decided to hike close by as my hiking boots fell apart as soon as we were done! This is the second pair to literally fall apart AFTER a hike. Anyway, here is a bit about the trail followed by some photos:
Mooner’s Hollow Trail follows the steep narrow valley of Coonville Creek and its many rugged tributaries in the Coonville Creek Natural Area. This trail is well-maintained and marked. It follows Coonville Creek. There are several creek crossings that may be difficult to cross during wet weather. There are also some moderate uphill climb. It is probably the parks most scenic trail. The trail is so named because of past activity of moonshiners in the area. The bootleggers found the creeks cold, clear springs and deep isolated valleys to be the perfect location for their stills. Hikers will encounter a few steep hills, a couple of creek crossings, dolomite glades and hilltop vistas.”AllTrails.com
After this great hike, I felt something under my boot.…it was the sole falling off! Oh how blessed I was it didn’t fall off on the trail. Since we were only about 50 miles from St. Louis, and we ended our hike early enough, we drove up to REI. I found new brand hiking shoes and hope they last longer. I also was having an issue with my MacBook Pro. So took it with me while I called in to get an appointment. Surprise, they could fit me in! What a wonderful day, so much accomplished.
10/11/2021 Swimming Deer Trailhead, St. Francois State Park. Since I was breaking in new hiking shoes, we decided to not increase our miles. We went back to the same State Park. Happily, the new hiking shoes were perfect! Absolutely no problems. According to All Trails:
This trail is well marked, has two wooden bridges and a very deep and large sink hole. It has a steep climb at the beginning but is fairly level overall. There are some rocks on the trail making for tricky footing in places. There is also an old shack on the trail. We were sad no note of it’s history, only lots of graffiti. The trail follows Big River for approximately one mile. Hikers are treated to outstanding bluff overlooks along Big River for most of the hike. Also along the trail is evidence of scars left on the land from a time when settlers dug shallow surface mines by hand in search of lead deposits. A historic log sawmill reflects a time when this area was so heavily logged that hardly any trees were left standing.”All Trails
10/12/2021 Sandstone Canyon Trail, Don Robinson State Park. We decided we had to venture farther away from the resort to visit another State Park. We were not disappointed and it was well worth the extra drive. We also looked for a longer hike so nearly a four mile hike. We also wanted a loop hike. This one had lots of inclines and declines, which means a better work out for us.
Information from the Missouri State Park website: “Inside the quiet shady sanctuary of Don Robinson State Park, it’s hard to believe that the bustling metropolitan area of St. Louis is not far away. It’s wooded hillsides buffer any outside noise and it’s interesting sandstone canyons make it easy to forget there is a world outside.
“That’s just what Don Robinson and tended when he purchased the property as his personal home and sanctuary. The area is located in the upper watershed of the Labarque Creek and features sandstone box canyons, shelter caves, cliffs, glades, upland and bottomland forests. It was Robinson’s wish that upon his death, his personal sanctuary would become part of the Missouri State Park System. Today Don Robinson State Park offers visitors a chance to experience and explore this amazing landscape that is not far from St. Louis.”
10/13/2021 Opossum Track Trail – Washington State Park: Wanting to see more of this region, we ventured to yet another state park. So far, none have disappointed us and it looks like the state of Missouri has a GREAT state park system. This park contains petroglyphs, has quaint hiking shelters and incredible Ozark overlooks. All these define this state park! There were three rugged hiking trails to pick from. Opossum seemed to be the middle one in distance and rating. I just wasn’t ready to hit five miles yet. From the State website:
A portion of Opossum Track Trail travels through the 68 acre Washington State Park hardwood natural area, an area of land set aside for protection because of its natural beauty. Along other sections of the trail, hikers may notice depressions of the earth. Prior to the parks construction, this area was prospected for a mineral called barite and the depressions are the remains of those mining operations. Wait, locally known as tiff, as used in the production of drilling mud and paint. As visitors hike along the scenic Trail, they also may enjoy several breathtaking views of the big river valley, particularly near the CCC Overlook Gazebo, that offers wooden benches for resting…. The trail meanders through a typical Missouri oak – hickory hardwood woodland, abounding with many natural wonders including wildflowers, songbirds, native wildlife, majestic trees, and trickling water winding its way along an ancient creek bed.”Washington State Park – Missouri State Parks
Next up, part two where we will continue to hike in a different state park; visit our “rainy day” tour of the Bonne Terre Mine and under ground boat tour coupled with the Missouri Mines State Historic Site; a return to St. Louis due to excessive rain; then we will move on across the state to visit family. But one more hike on the way!
To be continued!
Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks.”1 Timothy 4:4 NLT