Monthly Archives: May 2016
There aren’t too many places in the St. Louis area where you can walk and see horses lazing in a paddock. But, there is one within a few minutes drive from my house and it’s a treat! Longview Park was a private family estate not too long ago. I would drive by and imagine how sweet life must be for the folks that owned this prime piece of real estate, complete with a huge paddock.
Little did I know the treat that was hidden from the view of passersby. There is a small but lovely pond on this property. The family donated (I think) this estate for the public to enjoy. Now, the family house is a meeting location. There is a playground and picnic area beside the barn which houses horses that are used for equine therapy. A sidewalk runs about a city block around this property and a few houses near it. Awaiting those on foot is the pretty pond at the bottom of a paved walk. There are benches, a fountain, two ‘observation’ decks, and some mulch trails that cut through the stand of woods that hide the pool from the street. Many of the trees are labeled and the area is partially landscaped and partly ‘natural’.
While one walks around the exterior of the park and its nearby neighbors, it’s easy to forget that the pond awaits you. Once inside the park, the trail travels steadily downhill to the ‘funnel’ where the pond is. The walk in the ‘funnel’ is nicely shaded, wide enough for traffic in both directions, and offers occasional seating and several foot bridges.
This has become our go-to walking destination when frequent rains have muddied the trails at Castlewood and other parks with trails we prefer to walk.
Why did I not know about this wonderful place? I’ve lived just a few minutes from this location near the intersection of I-44 and MO 141 for most of my life! It’s not a park but a Conservation Area. What’s the difference? Not completely sure but their literature states that citizens can take berries, mushrooms, and other items from the CA while such things may not be removed from parks in Missouri.
The trails at this ‘park’ are mostly hilly and rocky. The trails are limited to foot traffic, dogs on leash, and horses. No bikes or other means of transport. While you can hear the I-44 traffic from one or two of the trails, it’s not distracting. There is plenty of horse poop to step around and some small streams to cross. The signage is not terribly informative and can be a bit misleading. But, there is a nice variety of trails here and I think we’ll spend the rest of this year exploring all of them.
Forest 44 CA abuts the Beaumont Scout area and a shooting range and is across I-44 from Lone Elk Park and Tyson Research Park. There are also two commercial stables whose horses and riders use this CA. I am a bit familiar with horses so I know to yield to them, especially when my dog is present. One does not want to spook a horse and my dog thinks they are really big dogs who should want to play with her. Nothing doin’!
I debated even mentioning this location with my readers as it’s quite a gem and I like the idea that it is mostly undiscovered. But, this is not the front page of the NY Times! We can all keep a secret, right? If you want to explore a local treasure, check out this place. I can’t wait to discover every inch of it.
I haven’t written an article here in months – maybe a year. A lot has happened in the past year and I’ve been busy.
MIL passed away. A wonderful trip to Australia. My son married and our first grandchild will be here soon. My mom has had some health issues. Life has been happening!
And, during all the above and the millions of large and small things I (and you) do every day, I have been walking. I have walked almost every day of the past year. I’ve walked around my neighborhood, my city, my country and I’ve walked in Australia. I was fortunate to visit Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, and Port Douglas. And, I walked in all of those cities. I even walked around the airport between flights to make the wait time go faster. Airports are so frustrating. If I didn’t want to be detained by TSA, I had to keep my cool through all the delays and passport clearance silliness.
Anyway, I think I’m back! I’ve been thinking of article topics lately which is a clear sign to myself that I need to get writing. Today, I walked with my friend Kris at a park not far from home. We have branched out to search out other parks and trails. I’ll share those with you in the next few days.
As for now, my dog is just happy that she gets walked most days and I certainly sleep better if I’ve walked. I am also still dancing – sometimes dancing and walking in the same day! For a preview of local walking trails I’ll be writing about, you can check into Castlewood State Park, Emmeneggar Park (Kirkwood, MO), Overlook Trail at Al Foster Park, and a mystery park I’ll share with you soon.