Oct 20 2014
In the spirit of getting back to talking about other things on the blog, this weekend Michael and I took some time to visit a local park and take a hike. I spent a few hours on Friday researching parks and hikes we could do, trying to find a sweet spot between interesting, strenuous enough but also not likely to kill us.
I settled on a trail at Babler Memorial State Park – which is a huge park near Chesterfield, Missouri. There are quite a few trails, tons of picnic areas, camping and etc. It’s free to get in and use the trails – camping costs (as is pretty standard). We didn’t really get a chance to explore the whole park since I was so eager to get hiking.
We ended up on the Dogwood Trail – a relatively short trail (2 miles) but listed as strenuous due to changes in elevation. We had difficulty locating the main trailhead, but were able to locate the second trailhead (which is located on a spur near a cave). Parking was plentiful at this trailhead and it was also accessible to restrooms which were open, well stocked and clean.
The trail itself was actually far more challenging than I had thought it would be (I thought 2 miles might be *too* easy for us). It was a dirt trail which was still damp in parts from rain a few nights before, and given the season there were plenty of fallen leaves on the path. The trail on the spur was a bit of a difficult climb due to soil erosion – lots of big steps up (and down on the way back – killed my adductor muscles). The main trail was in nicer condition.
I found this trail very exciting: leaves and acorns showering us every time the wind blew, small stream crossings to navigate and as we moved down in elevation, the path got significantly rockier. We passed a few other couples hiking, some with dogs, but overall the trail was pretty deserted, which surprised me for a beautiful fall afternoon. All in all, it was a good hike – not too long, the changes in elevation were relatively frequent and got me sweating and I felt like an adventurer crossing the little streams.
Biggest surprise for me after the hike: lack of knee pain. I hurt the adductors in my left hip by stepping down the large steps on the trail spur (I had to turn sideways to step down because of my short legs and I didn’t alternate sides, which was a rookie mistake). But my knees felt fine and I know I have yoga to thank for that. I used to believe that squatting and crouching would always be painful; that I had permanently screwed up those joints by being so fat for so long, but I’ve been able to build up my thigh muscles and the muscles around my knees enough that I can squat without pain. Daily yoga pays off!