Another fishing destination, but with a long trail to a natural bridge.

Bennett Spring State Park is mostly a highly manicured trout fishing destination. But it can be really pretty in the background (see above).

It's about 2 1/2 hours from South County:

See the Missouri Deparment of Natural Resources' web site for more information about the park.

I hiked the trail (7 miles round trip) in late August. It was seriously hot and humid. The flowers were the reward:

This pipeline was a surprise. I think we think of energy in terms of its pollution and carbon impacts. But we might also now just how much of the landscape it takes up. This pipeline right-of-way was recently mown. A little farther down the trail there's a second, unmaintained right of way.

The natural bridge is really a cave with two openings. It's long enough (a hundred yards?) that I wasn't able to walk through it without a flashlight.

Much of the trail traverses collapsed karst terrain. This:

looks like a cave, but it really isn't; instead, its a scour hole carved in the bluff wall, filled with gravel. It think at this point any water which runs to the scour hole is "lost" underground. Or, to put it another way, this is where a losing stream loses itself.