Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dangerous Rivers, Crazy Wind, and Other Adventures in a Nearby State Park

Danger Boy, Kid Catastrophe, Miss Mayhem, and Tired Mom crossed the mighty Mississippi River in search of adventures! And, a State Park that Tired Mom had a hankering to explore since she had just learned of its existence a few hours before. So, the super family crossed this bridge.
In search of this trail in particular (but we made several other stops along the way, and afterwards). This State Park was only about 15 minutes from our house (still amazed I had never heard of it). It seems that the trail I was in search of was only made 8-9 years ago, so that might account for that.
We saw fields and fields of this particular kind of yellow flower all over the park. I think it might be native to the Missouri area, or a particular kind of goldenrod I read about once (called Ohio goldenrod).
Confluence Trail leads to Confluence Point, which is a really beautiful place where the Missouri and Mississippi River meet up. It's kind of a scary place too though with two raging rivers meeting at the same point, and in general looking like the kind of place a toddler could drown very easily. So, Miss Mayhem got to stay in the jogging stroller in order to preserve Tired Mom's nerves.
Danger Boy and Kid Catastrophe had a great time throwing rocks and sticks in the water, and looking at the tumultuous waters, which were made even choppier by it being a very windy day. The picture below was taken right at the exact moment when Kid Catastrophe's hat almost flew into the water, and Tired Mom had one of those "heart attack" moments where I knew Kid Catastrophe was going to trip over her own feet and into the water trying to get after it. Because, you know, Danger Boy is the one getting as close to the edge as possible, but Kid Catastrophe is going to be the one to fall in! I managed to scream something "mommish" at the top of my lungs (which I can't remember, I probably blocked it out) and Kid Catastrophe did not fall in. We left shortly after that, I can't imagine why.
In the below picture, you can see where both rivers meet (Mississippi on the left, Missouri on the right) and the little island ahead of the confluence.
After driving back the 4.3 miles of gravel crap road we had to drive to get to Confluence Trail, we visited the bird sanctuary area. We mostly saw geese, which Danger Boy was told he would not be able to pet and that geese could be mean if you got to close to them. He still spent a good 10 minutes trying to sneak up on some geese so he could pet them. He finally came back to me and said dejectedly, "Mom, you just can't pet geese." You think?

Kid Catastrophe and Miss Mayhem did not seem as interested in the geese. Miss Mayhem was pretty obsessed with the gravel on this part of the bird sanctuary area. This might have been because I had not let her out of the stroller before then. She was mad with freedom!
They had these lookout binoculars near a trail called Two Pecan Trail. Too bad we did not see any birds in this area to look at through them!

There were several areas/trails that went right by the river (which was another reason Miss Mayhem stayed in her stroller while we walked trails).
My favorite trail was the one that started here at the marker for Ellis Island (peninsula) that juts out into the Mississippi River. It started out as gravel, and then turned into a lovely wide mulch path. I think I will go back soon and go trail running on it. It was gorgeous!
Here's a great picture I took of the mulched part of the Ellis Island Trail.
After 3 hours of exploring the State Park, Miss Mayhem took a nap in the stroller (on the Ellis Island Trail, our last stop before going back home). It was funny that one of the reasons Tired Mom got a wild hair to get out of the house and explore was because Miss Mayhem had refused to take a nap, and would have been a real bear the rest of the day if we had not gotten out and done something!

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