Meramec State Park

Even a familar place can seem new, with a bit of exploring.

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I'm a nature fan-boy, and I know it. It's not hard to get to start gushing, to loose all control of my enthusiasms. To the point of being tiresome, in fact. I've seen that glazed look in my friends' eyes, watch my co-workers suddenly remember urgent tasks that require immediate attention. It's fine.

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It was windy when I went to Meremec State Park in early March, and the hawks were out, soaring up the updrafts rising above the river bluffs. I noticed one first when I was walking along a gravel bar next to the river. I couldn't really get a good look at it, because it was so far above the river.

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Beaver Creek, not much more than a trickle, has cut a wide valley.

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In few places is history layered across the landscape like it is in the Hamilton Valley.

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I went back to Meremec State Park this spring. Were the feral daffodils still there?

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The Wilderness Trail is a fine, long hike, only an hour from South St. Louis County. It's close enough to home to be a reason to drive past closer, but less interesting spots.

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How does the Cole Porter song go? Something like, "Birds do it, bees do it, even Ozark turtles do it . . . " Or maybe not.

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Sometimes old roads go nowhere. But sometimes they do. In early March, I was wandering around Meremec State Park, piecing together unofficial trails, abandoned roads and obvious cross-country routes. I knew I was in an area that had had a bunch of river clubhouses before the the failed attempt to dam the Meremec, so it seemed wise to follow whatever evidence of previous use I came across.

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Melancholy in the Ozarks. Or, a cemetery fading down into the fallen leaves.

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Hamilton Valley is in Meremec State Park, so of course there are caves and springs. Probably more that I noticed.

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Abandoned cabin sites announce themselves with daffodils in March.

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