rock bridge memorial state park

The month of January had hiking bookends; not a bad way to begin the year!

Late last week the temperature rose into the 50's, so we took Friday off work and school to drive two hours east on I-70 to the college town of Columbia. 

Just a few miles from the MU campus is Rock Bridge Memorial State Park offering a number of trail options. We chose the Spring Brook Trail with the idea of also hiking the Sink Hole Trail since they were connected, for a projected total of just over four miles of hiking. 

It's always good to be flexible on a hike because things don't go as planned. We expected the trails to be somewhat muddy from recent snow melt, and they were, to the point the word "squishy" was used more than once. The Spring Brook trail is estimated to take just over two hours to complete, but because we were slogging through the mud it took us two hours to get to the halfway point. The Sink Hole trail would not be hiked. It's too bad because the area is known for its sink holes and it would have been interesting to see. It took us a total of three and a half hours to complete the Spring Brook Trail. 

We really weren't slogging through the mud the entire time, avoiding the mud when we could, walking on the edge of the trail when it was dry. We saw a couple of pairs of trail runners on our hike, and I can't imagine running through that mud, but if the trial is frequently used even when wet I'm not surprised it was in such sloggy shape. 

Besides the mud this was an enjoyable hike. The trail followed the Little Bonne Femme Creek and research beforehand showed we'd have to cross it at some point without a bridge. Jesse carried the kids over since their shoes aren't waterproof and the water was cold enough that wet feet would become an issue later in the day. Yours truly wears waterproof shoes so I didn't need to be carried! Water always adds an element of beauty to our hikes and the kids are always eager to skip rocks. I especially loved the area where the creek was frozen.

Since beginning to enjoy winter hikes a number of years ago, I'm always on the look out for warm days and free time on our calendar to take one. Being able to take two hikes in one month this time of year is a great gift. The warm weather, sunlight, exercise, being together ~ always, always does me good.