I’m not a seasoned hiker…yet. I’m not in shape…yet. I’m working on it. It was Fall when I started hiking. Nice cool or better yet, cold weather…I felt like I was somewhat in shape! April 15 we decided to head to Pacific MO & LaBarque Creek Conservation Area and give its namesake trail a try. Only 3 miles and 572 feet in elevation…piece of cake. That day, summer decided to make an appearance, much to my menopausal, hot flashing body’s dismay. Temps in the mid 80’s. At the trailhead, right off the bat is a huge set of stairs! I hate stairs! A little further up the trail, another set of steps cut into the trail. I’m ready to go back to the car already!
Up we went! The Dogwoods were in full bloom but the other trees were just beginning to bud. The first 1.5 miles were pretty but nothing that made me think I wanted to do the trail again. By the time we got to the top of the ridge and the halfway point, I was done! I KNEW I was out of shape or I was having the mother of all hot flashes! I thought about turning around and going back down. Nope! I’m not a quitter. I’ll finish this damn trail if it takes me all day!
After resting a bit and checking the map on the alltrails app, we knew we were at the highest point and we had a ridge to walk along for a while…ridge walking usually means breezes…and the skies were getting gray…a little rain would be nice 🙂 so on we went. OMG! I’m soooooo glad I didn’t turn back! The second half of the trail was AMAZING! It was like we were in a completely different state! Flowers, butterflies, cactus, ferns, creeks, grass trails! There were several side trails that led down to LaBarque Creek and many caves! We had no idea there were caves to explore. By the time we figured that out we didn’t have enough daylight left to explore and hike back out…dang it. I’ve lived in Missouri my whole life and as a kid lived on 40 acres out in the country. Our property had 2 caves on it and I spent a lot of time in the big cave and running around in the woods exploring. I’ve been out in the woods camping in several areas in Missouri and I don’t remember ever seeing cactus! That was my biggest WOW of the day!
It took us over 4 hours to complete the trail and it’s now one of our favorites! As we were leaving the parking lot, my daughter called and asked me if it would be OK for her ex-husband to drop off my grandson at my house because they were still hiking and wouldn’t be home in time. Sorry kiddo, we’re not home, we just finished a hike at LaBarque. With that she starts going nuts! No way mom! That’s where we are too! Somehow my daughter and I missed each other on the same trail, well different side trail!