I just woke up from an accidental 2 hour nap, because I am a big whimp. Why am I tired?
Lately I've been craving some quiet time in the woods, so today (yesterday by the time I finish typing this, I'm sure!) I went to the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area just outside of Branson to hit some of the trails. I went there all the time when I was younger (I grew up in Branson), but I haven't been in AGES. Today was finally the perfect weather (mid-70s), so off I went!
There are a few of these little kiosks around the parking area that tell you about the flora and fauna you might see. It's a shame they're super faded by decades of sun!
There are 2 different trails. If you head right from the parking area, there's a short, paved .3 mile loop that goes out to an overlook tower. If you go to the left, there are a series of longer trails. I originally planned to just do the short trail today, but apparently I wasn't the only one who thought today was perfect weather, because there were a TON of people over there! I'm used to not seeing anyone! So after only venturing a short ways down the trail, I turned back and headed for the other side.
Map of the shorter trail. I love all the info it gives! I also love the abundance of benches on this trail.
This little overlook area also serves as the entrance to the longer trail. Once you're inside, there's a short staircase to the left that leads down to the trail.
This map shows all of the trails to the left. I would LOVE to do the full thing, but my goal today was just the little red Glade Trail loop, which is 1.1 miles. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but keep in mind that there's a lot of up and down hills!
In addition to the great weather, this was a great time to go because all of the trees are just starting to change! Throughout most of the trail, there's woods to one side, and this clear view for miles and miles to the other side.
While the shorter trail is paved, this one alternates between rocky and just plain dirt. It's not super rough, but you do have to watch your feet to avoid tripping over roots or rocks!
Just a few minutes down the trail, I actually stumbled upon a geocache! I have never gone geocaching, but I got really excited to randomly find one! It was basically a moment of "Um... is that a box under that rock? Hey, it IS!"
I HAD to check it out! I dug the box out and found the little notebook where the previous people who found it have signed, as well as the little collection of trinkets. The idea is that you can take something and leave something.
I didn't have anything to leave, but I totally took that purple octopus ring in the corner. I'll leave something cool the next time I go to make up for it, though, I promise!
I made it out to the cool overlook point about halfway down the trail:
This was probably about 4/10 of a mile, and it was the first bench! It made me miss the benches of the other trail a little.
The good ol' "Look at these trees behind me!" shot.
I love exposed tree roots!
I was worried that the trail would be super muddy since it rained a lot over the weekend, but the soggy spots were actually pretty rare, thankfully!
Wildflowers offered the occasional pop of color.
I have no idea what the little red square means. Maybe that this is the red trail on the map? I am so not a trail expert!
All together, I walked about a mile, and I don't think I would have lasted much longer. I felt like SUCH a lightweight, because I just finished reading Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed where she was walking like 20 miles a day carrying a huge backpack. I made it ONE mile, y'all. I am SO out of shape for this kind of thing! I'd love to reach a level of badassery where I could go do the whole series of trails (which I think add up to a little over 5 miles), but I don't see that happening any time soon!
I actually did something really rare for me- I made a vlog while I was walking! I haven't had a chance to edit the videos together yet, so I'll save it for another post (along with a few other photos), but it was fun to do!
Are you outdoorsy?