Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park: Suburban Mushroom Heaven
Located 30 miles west of downtown St. Louis, Babler State Park is home to an impressive 2,400-acre old-growth forest ecosystem. Despite the park's proximity to the suburbs of the city, Babler offers a lovely network of trails and one of the better foraging opportunities in the area. If you are looking for a good leg stretcher, but can't commit to a day-long hike or one of our excursions, Babler is a wonderful option.
Ozark Trail Current River Section: A Surprisingly Dry Excursion
Over Memorial Day Weekend, my cousins, John, Alex, and Phillip, and I decided we wanted to hike the Current River Section of the Ozark Trail: an ambitious, 30-mile excursion through true Ozark wilderness. This noteworthy section of the trail provides several opportunities for adventure and recreation along the way. Although the maps on the Ozark Trail Association website and other sources say this is a 30-mile trail, the mileage is understated. If you decide to hike this section, you can reasonably expect to walk 35 miles or more even if you skip out on side adventures, such as the half-mile spur trail to Rocky Falls. In other words, this should…
Three Creeks Conservation Area: A Columbia Favorite
Located just south of Columbia, Three Creeks Conservation Area offers a nice escape from the city without a long drive. Three Creeks is comparable to the nearby Rock Bridge State Park, but with the benefit of significantly fewer visitors. If you visit Three Creeks on a Monday after the weekend rush, you're liable to have the area to yourself. Despite the proximity to Columbia, MO, it is a beautiful natural area with an abundance of wildlife, unique stream ecosystems, and (our favorite) prime mushroom foraging areas.
Salt Lick Trail: A Short and Sweet Experience
The Perseid meteor shower of 2018 was unlike any other for Mollie and I. We had only just started to really get to know each other, and for some reason, she trusted this guy with an idea to hike the 3-mile Salt Lick Trail at night, lay on top of a cliff, and listen to some tunes commingle with the annual light show. At the time I was serving tables, and after badgering the manager for a while I managed to get my shift cut short so I could pick up Mollie and see some stars. The Perseids are spectacular and something worth being so excited about, but they weren't…
How to Safely Forage for Mushrooms
Mushrooms are mysterious lifeforms. Many are edible. Many contain dangerous, or even deadly, toxins. There is much we don't know about a lot of these toxins. The Destroying Angel (below) is a prime example of why it is crucial to educate yourself and be certain of what you have harvested before deciding whether or not to consume any mushroom.
Brushy Creek Loop: (Probably) the Most Remote Trail in Missouri
The end-of-the-week forecast advised us to head to the woods. This particular middle-of-nowhere patch of forest is one of, if not the, largest contiguous areas of forest in Missouri. It just might be the most remote area Missouri has to offer. Mollie and I cut our Friday workdays a bit short, arriving at the Himont Campground in the Roger Pryor Pioneer Backcountry by 7 PM. Our sights were set on the Brushy Creek Trail, an ambitious, 16-mile loop (AllTrails says 14 miles) that starts at the Himont Campground. Little did we know, due to the pandemic, we had entered a closed county and all state campgrounds had been temporarily closed.…