Hiking Bennett Springs Mo

Bennett Springs

If you like to fish and live near Missouri, there is a good chance you have heard of Bennett Springs. If you are not into fishing … well, there are a couple of trails and plenty of car-camping sites.

Bennett Springs

A couple weeks ago we decided to take a short weekend trip out to Bennett Springs to check out the trails, specifically the Natural Tunnel Trail. It is listed at 7.5 miles, but the GPS reported our trek at closer to 9.5 miles. We found the trail fun, but bring bug spray and keep checking for ticks. Also, bring a second set of shoes for water crossings.

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Starting off right

Well, today is the first day of 2015.  I’m not one to put a great deal of stock into marking the change from one year to the next.  Mostly the new year means I’ll spend a few weeks crossing off last year’s date and scribbling in 2015.  However, I tend to hardly write checks any more, so perhaps that hassle is fading away.

While the revolution of the planet causing us to flip the calendar over to the next year isn’t a huge event in my life, I do believe that mentally marking a change in one’s life is a positive things.  It helps to be able to draw a line in the sand when making a decision to do something.  But it is the deciding that is important; that is what allows one to move forward.

Weston Bend TrailSo, for me, this new year will include more hiking and camping.  I had planned to do several smaller trips last year, but things always came up and we just didn’t get around to do the trips.

To start this year out right, we went on a short 3 mile hike.  The picture here is where we were coming up onto a ridge.  The wind was a bit crisp and you could see the ice in the river, but with hats and gloves, we stayed warm even in the 36 degree weather.  (And we were not the only ones out there.  If fact, there were a more people than normal on the trail today).

My eventual goal will be to do some long through hikes.  Probably not in the next year or so (getting a couple of months straight to spend hiking takes a lot of work and planning), but within the next five years, I would like to do something like the John Muir Trail.  It’s just over 200 miles long.  Then at some point, I would love to do both the Appalachian Trail (2,200 miles) and the Pacific Crest Trail (2,663 miles).  I know, when you think about those distances, the hikes seem long.  But even out of shape, last year we did over 40 miles in the mountains with considerable changes in elevation.  So, this year I am drawing the line and will get myself fit enough to do three or four weeks a solid hiking so I can eventually knock out the JMT.

Hiking: Lawn Lake, Crystal Lakes, and The Saddle

Back in August, Sherri and I did some hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.  One of the hikes that had plagued us for years was the Lawn Lake trail.  We’d been chased down by weather a couple of times and decided against it because of injures another time.  However, this year, we managed to finish the trail and more.

The Lawn Lake trail is just over 6 miles one-way.  On prior visits to Estes Park, we were told not to set Lawn Lake a destination.  The lake normally is not that thrilling and there are better hikes in the park.  If we were going to do the trail, go past Lawn Lake to the Crystal Lakes and/or The Saddle as well.

This year, that is exactly what we did.  Here is 15 minutes of things I captured with the video camera on the way.  Surprisingly, this year turned out to also be spectacular for wild flowers around the lake, so the lake became a worthwhile destination for itself.

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Wait…where am I?

Craigs from Thunder PassWow, I have been busy lately.  I really have been meaning to post more, but so far, I have just been managing to get my weekly Owin episodes out.  Here is a quick update on what I’ve been doing, as well as what I am going to be doing.

First, last week I spent hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.  We put in just over 46 miles on trails over the course of four days.  The first day we broke a personal record, doing 18 miles round-trip (which included darn near 4k foot of elevation gain).

That trip was from Lawn Lake Trail head, up past Lawn Lake, and onto The Saddle.  On the way back, we took a mile side trip to Crystal Lake, which is thought to be the deepest lake in the park.  I must say, it was amazing up there.  It was also a bit of work doing this hike.  I live around 850 ft above sea level.  The Saddle is at 12,390 feet, so there is a bit less air at that height than what I am used to, but the views were amazing and the effort worth it.  Plus, the wild flowers were spectacular (and last week wasn’t even the height of the season, I think we missed it by a week or so).

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Pictures on the trail

Water fallThis post is overdue and I still have tons of other images to process, but I wanted to get a couple of pictures posted for everyone to enjoy.

I’m a fan of soft water, so I often have to stop and get a few shots when I comes across any falls.  The trouble is, stopping, getting out the gear, getting the shots, moving around, getting more shots, and then packing up the gear to move on down the trail takes a lot of time.  This trip I didn’t end up with as many shots as I normally take.  Hopefully the ones I did get will yield a few more decent shots.  (Plus I have video to edit; lots of video.)

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The Evocative

wet trailThere are certain things that when we see, hear, or smell them, they just put us into that proper state of mind where we are instantly transported to another time or place, or perhaps even another world.  For each person, it’s always something a little different.  However, I expect that history, tradition, and some instinctual programming in the back of our minds gives us all a fair amount of overlap.

I love spending time outdoors and I must admit that some trips are just more fun than others.  Often what makes something more memorable is the unexpected, when something that should by all logic and reason be unpleasant, actually turns out to be fun.  I’ve mentioned it before, but some of the best hiking I have done has been in the rain and for me a wet woodland road can easily send my imagination running wild.  Who else has traveled the road?  Where were they going and why?  Was someone chasing them?  Were they chasing some?  Were they on a simple afternoon stroll?  Visiting a friend? A colleague? A lover?  The road exists, so someone at some point made this journey before me, yet only the faded memory of their passage remains.

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