Cedar Gap Wilderness Area is a 431 acre forest area at the headwaters of the Bryant Creek in Wright County, Missouri. I drive past the turn-off for it on my way to work, and I’d always wondered about it, but then our local newspaper ran a story about it and I realized what a cool hike was only a few miles from my home. I recruited some friends and we went for a family hike on a warm weekend in January.
The hike starts in a heavily forested area, and you head downhill towards the creek. It was in the 50s that day, but it had been cold just a few days before, so the creek was frozen on top with running water underneath, and there were icicles everywhere. The trail is lined by limestone bluffs and I bet the area is absolutely gorgeous in the fall.
Scrambling across the creek was pretty tricky with the icy conditions, but we managed to do it without anyone falling in the water. (Even the kids – and some adults – who just had to play around on the rocks!) The hike back up to the parking lot was fairly steep, and at one point it opens into a glade that is the second highest point in Missouri. (Around 1700 ft) The conservation department says the loop is 1.6 miles, but we explored the creek quite a bit so I think we ended up hiking around 3 miles. I was really proud of my son for hiking the whole way without complaining.
We celebrated a successful first two-kid hike with donuts in the parking lot! (Sam stole mine.)
Stay tuned for the next installment of Postcards from the Ozarks!
I’ve been reading a ebook called Live Sent: 31 Days in the City by Shauna Pilgreen, a church planter’s wife who recently relocated with her family from the Midwest to San Francisco. In order to get to know their new home, she embarked on a series of family adventures to get to know the people, cultures and landmarks of their new city.
We recently experienced something similar, but in reverse, moving from a small city (pop. 150,000) to a small town (pop. 3,000). Culture shock is a fair word for what we have experienced! Just as someone moving to a large city might feel anonymous among the crowd, trying to fit in in a town where most people’s roots run generations deep can be challenging.
Inspired by the book, I’ve made a list of notable things to see and do around our little town. I won’t be able to complete them in 31 days, but I hope to get to most of them during the next year. I really do believe that there is something unique about every place. Look for future
posts postcards from these great spots and hopefully even more!
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s house in Mansfield, MO
Make the most of our Silver Dollar City season passes
Visit Glade Top Trail
Fishing at Rockbridge Rainbow Trout Ranch
Hiking at Cedar Gap Conservation Area
French cuisine in small town Missouri – La Galette Berrichonne
Eat some 5-cent ice cream at Ava Drug
Take a retreat at Assumption Abbey and try some of their famous fruitcakes
Visit Dawt Mill
Go floating (canoeing)
Bakersville Pioneer Village
- Poke Salad Days
- Glade Top Trail Festival
Have you ever played tourist in your own town?
(also known as the official start to Christmas!)
Last weekend my husband and I traveled about 30 minutes south to Branson, Mo (yes — that Branson. And yes, I will miss seeing Andy Williams billboards this Christmas!) to run a 5K at Silver Dollar City. It’s an 1880’s themed amusement park, which is just as weird and delightful as it sounds — old timey craft shops, food cooked in large outdoor kettles and griils, and some really awesome rides with names like Powder Keg and the Barn Swing (it’s scarier than it sounds). They cover every square inch of the place in Christmas lights in November and December, and it’s really something to see.
The race is great, because for the price of a normal admission, you get to ride rides for about 3 hours, run a 5K, get hot cocoa, wassail, and cookies, AND a ticket to come back again before the end of the year.
The only bad part is The Hill. The end of the race goes up this enormous hill that everyone who has ever been to SDC knows about, because it’s the hill you have to climb to reach the entrance/exit to the park at the end of a long day. But really, it’s not that bad.
Dude if you move just a little to the right you would be wearing the MOST FESTIVE AWESOME HAT ON DA PLANET!
Did you notice how I casually mentioned at the beginning of the post that my husband and I ran a 5K? This is a really big deal. Matt doesn’t run. It’s my thing, and I don’t try to push it on him. But he likes roller coasters, and I promised I would stay with him if he wanted to run it. You guys: HE RAN THE WHOLE WAY (okay, one tiny walk break) WITH NO TRAINING (except the general physical demands of being a college pastor, which apparently requires regular games of ultimate frisbee and capture the flag)! I was so proud of him.
Then we ate lots of cookies. Yum.