Thursday, October 20, 2016

Weekend Adventures: Roaring River State Park

Hiking in the Ozarks is a much different experience than Illinois. While there are some neat hikes in that northern state (Mathieson State Park, for example!), nothing beats the hills of Missouri. I ventured out to Roaring River State Park, just outside Cassville, Missouri, for my first "official" hiking adventure since the move. 

I originally planned to hike the Devil's Kitchen trail, but ended up hiking a different one! A must-see at the park is the picturesque trout stream -- stocked full of trout from the hatchery -- and Roaring River Spring. 

I wanted to get an aerial view of the spring and hatchery, so I climbed up Deer Leap trail (just .2 miles long). On the way up there, I saw the trail sign for Fire Tower trail (a more appealing 3.75 miles), so I detoured up the steep trail to see what was up there. I was rewarded with some great views of the changing fall colors and a mostly deserted trail. (I didn't take a lot of photos on this hike -- for a change!) 

I felt adventurous, and there weren't any signs warning people not to climb the fire tower, so I went up. My brain kept saying NO, but I made it to the top. Built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the tower didn't offer much of a view; it must have offered a spectacular view before the trees overtook its height. 

I also had a reminder that you're never truly alone when out in nature. Even if you don't see them, there are tons of animals around. This big guy caught my eye as I wandered down the trail. I stood and watched him for a while as he worked his way up the tree and out of sight. I grew up with a big fear of snakes, but I've apparently gotten a bit braver now that I'm older.

I'm going to try to fit in one more hike before I take off on my next adventure. Stay tuned! 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Adventures Begin Again

Popping in with an update as I return to regular blogging! It's been over a year since my last post, and since then I've completed a stint in downtown Chicago as a proofreader at a private label design firm, then downsized and packed up my belongings and moved 600 miles south to a temporary location in the Ozarks! 

Big plans ahead: most of my "stuff" is in storage and I'm getting organized for a snowbird-style adventure in Arizona. I'm in the midst of planning a road trip through southern Utah. Stay tuned, as I'll photograph and blog my way westward. 

In the meantime, check out my updated Etsy shop, which features some of my favorite photographs combined with quotes: Find Your Mantra