Creve Coeur Lake

Sunday morning my roommate and I got up early to go walk at Creve Coeur Lake. We had discussed a hike somewhere, but decided that with the impending heat and possible thunderstorms, a shorter drive would allow us more time to actually walk. We made it by 7:30, even though it was already a bit hot and muggy. It was also already a little crowded. We entered the park via the Marine Rd. entrance, and parked there, heading counter clockwise as to do the sunny part of the walk first and ending with the shady foresty bits last as the weather heated up. No pictures this time, as this was primarily an exercise trip. Next time I go, though!

Cons of this trail are definitely the crowds, even at early hours-- as it gets later, you get lots of families and children too. Also, there were some very cranky bike-riders on the trail who seemed very fed up with all the walkers. It's kind of a tight trail for everyone to share, admittedly. However the breeze coming up off the lake are wonderful (as well as the peaceful sights of the lake itself and the rowers out on the water), and the scenery is just beautiful!!! Marshland meets forest and wildflowers. It's a beautiful, peaceful walk despite the people, and the transitions between different types of landscapes is lovely-- from lakefront to marshes to green green trees.

Another drawback of the lake walk is the noise from traffic through parts of it. However at one point, the paved trail goes underneath the Page Extension, which essentially is a highway now. It's kind of an incredible site. It seems like the sudden shock of such a piece of non-natural scenery would ruin the landscape, but it is almost like a secret world. The highway rises so far above almost all the trees in the area; I've never been underneath a highway bridge like that before, and it's bigger than I imagined! Above are the heard but unseen cars, but underneath is a utopia of the little streams leading to the lakes, the forested areas carpeted with green. It brings to mind a picture of a post-apocalyptic world, if only the cars couldn't be heard. As if the highway has overgrown, but still exists at the same time. 

We did a little over 3.5 miles, doing the main walk, Lakeview Loop with a little side trip up the Medows Loop, but cut back through the parking lot to the main trail before we got too far, not knowing exactly how far it was or where it went. The park seems to have 3 main trail (the two mentioned above, along with the Mallard Lake Loop, and then also the Creve Coeur Connector trail which I believe goes to the Katy Trail. You could connect some of the trails to make a much longer walk, but it would take some planning. There is also a new trail, it seems, called the Bootlegger's Run, which is more of a hiking path from what I can see, but there isn't much info on it on the website that I have found. I have yet to check this out, but it would be a close option next time I'm looking for a trail in the area.

Loved this walk. We finished in just under an hour, and then headed to the Bread Company for water, fruit cups, and relaxed while reading the paper.

map of Creve Coeur Lake and various paths

Matson Hill Trail failure #2

  Attempted to do a hike today at Matson Hill Park, a second try since the trail was closed last time I tried to go.  Must have bad luck with this trail, because it was rained out despite leaving very early in hopes of beating the heat and the thunderstorms. A little bit of rain doesn't bother me while hiking, but I don't to be a mile or two into the trail when a really bad thunderstorm hits. Took a couple of pictures as it started raining, since the tree coverage was nice. The colors looked wonderful in the rain. I managed to get back into my car right as a torrential rain and thunder and lightning started, and sat until it eased up a little bit. It was very peaceful, even if I was stuck inside my car. When the rain slowed down to a drizzle, a man from the Park's Service came and put a "Trail Closed" sign up, so that was that. The sky looked questionable still, so I decided to just explore and drive around.

After a rainstorm like that, the countryside almost starts looking tropical. Everything is really green and you can see steam rising up from the forests and hills. The air was a little cooler, so I got to drive with my windows down, but the mugginess of the humidity was  pretty stifiling. It also got very hot very fast, and the mosquitoes were everywhere. It's been quite a few months since I've been out, so getting to see the area in late sping/early summer was really pretty. I stopped by the Katy Trail to look around, the Daniel Boone homestead site (which wasn't open yet), and the Weldon Springs Interpretive Center, which is a covered mound 75 feet tall that was the answer to clean up of waste products-- the area had been used to make TNT during the 40s, and an uranium processing plant in the 50s. You can climb up to the top of the mound and look around the area. Check out the website here:

Not a total loss today. Though I didn't get the nice walk I really wanted, I still got a long peaceful drive in the country. Next weekend it is supposed to be even hotter, so I'm wondering if it will be awhile again until I'm able to really get back to doing what I love best.