Matson Hill Park success & Daniel Boone Judgement Tree

I finally made it to Matson Hill Park trail and found the trail open! This was my third try (wow). Now this path was supposedly built for trail biking, according to 60 Hikes, and sure enough I only saw one other person on foot the entire time, but it wasn't too hard to share the trail with the bikers. This trail is past Lewis & Clark on 94, after driving through Defiance, Missouri and turning right at the Matson Hill Katy Trail stop, up a long gravel road. There's a picnic bench and a johnny-on-the-spot at the trailhead, which is kind of nice as well.

Started out about 7:45am, the weather already climbing close to 80 degrees. But this trail seems perfect for a hot day, almost all deep forests and very shaded, lending itself to light breezes. Even though I did get really hot by the end of the hike, for the most part I was comfortable. It's very different than some of the hikes in the area, with no real wow factors of cliffs or the Missouri River, but it's very relaxing and beautiful nonetheless. For the most part the trail is forest and hollows, lots of greenery. Another plus is that it is a very quiet trail since the main roadways are far off. I heard more birds on this trail than I have in a long time, and caught glimpses of quite a few of those birds, as well as a raccoon. It was incredibly peaceful to stop in the trail and just listen... even the light breeze seemed to make the whole forest come alive with sound. There were more than a few times I stopped to just relax in the shade and stare off into space, even though this was not a long trail and I didn't have lunch with me or anything.

There are two rusting car doors along the trail that I found interesting, as well as one area where you can see a creek that opens up into what might be a very small lake, but is too far down below you to really reach or see beyond the trees. The path is mostly dirt, with some rocky areas thrown in.  The trail is marked, but still very confusing. You can't really get lost on the trail, which is nice, but there are quite a few juntions where you have to make a choice on which way to go, and the map isn't always very helpful, and the signs don't usually tell you where each trail cut-off leads. I had to make a few educated guesses based on my map in hopes that I was taking the full loop and not a shortcut. The trail markings are posts, arrows on trees, and also orange and pink ribbons tied around trees (which may have been left over from a recent bike race), but I still spent a lot of time concerned with which path had I taken-- not all the trail break offs are marked on the maps either.

Overall, though, I thought this was a beautiful, peaceful trail,  if a little confusing. Lots of bugs, but that can be said of any trail this time of year! Afterwards I stopped at the Daniel Boone Judgement Tree Memorial Site which is right off 94 by the Katy Trail. This had nice information about Daniel Boone, nice scenery (even though I'm fairly sure this wasn't the actual site of the tree), as well as some really interesting information about the Katy Trail, and the towns of Defiance and Augusta.

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