Saturday, July 9, 2011

Over The Meadow And Through The Woods

In this area, it gets hot and humid in the summertime. I have an inclination to stay inside where it's air conditioned, but that gets boring so I try to take advantage of every chance to get out of the house that I can. The forecast for today was "only" 90 degrees, and even hotter weather is on the way, so and I decided to do an outside activity. We took a look at our list of things to do and chose one we haven't been to in years--the Shaw Nature Reserve, the "natural" part of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

We packed a picnic lunch, applied sunscreen, and started on our adventure. The Shaw Reserve is located in Gray Summit, 35 miles southwest of St. Louis. However, from our house it's closer to a 25 mile drive, most of which is on a scenic section of Interstate 44. The Reserve was founded in 1925 when coal smoke from the city of St. Louis threatened the plant collections at the Botanical Garden. They actually moved their orchid collection there in 1926, but the pollution in the city cleared up before it was necessary to move anything else. Now it's a combination of natural Ozark landscape and managed plant collections. They also have offer educational programs and have an overnight center for groups.

When we got there we stopped at the Visitor Center to pay our admission fees and pick up maps. The Reserve has over 14 miles of hiking trails, but we only used two. The first, the Brush Creek Trail, meandered through sections of woodlands and tallgrass prairies. We veered off the trail to stop at the Whitmire Wildflower Garden, a five-acre demonstration garden which showcases Missouri and eastern U.S. native wildflowers, native grasses, shrubs and trees. The beautiful displays left me inspired but frustrated, as I compared them to the meager scraggly beds at my house.

We ate lunch on a bench by a lake under some huge bald cypress trees. When we took the cooler back to the car we noticed that the trailhead of the Wolf Run Trail was right there, so we decided to make that our next walk. This trail had a lake at the halfway point, which was a nice spot to sit for a few minutes. It was getting quite hot, though, and we decided it was time to head back to the car. The air conditioning felt so good!

Even though I had a great time, I think next time I go to the Nature Reserve I'll choose a little more temperate day.


  1. It has been over 100 her for 8 straight days, making going out not too comfortable unless one goes before 11 a.m., which I usually try to do. We even had some humidity, but I'm sure it's nothing like yours. We usually have 17-20 percent, but it got over 30% this week which made the heat more miserable. We like a dry heat in these parts. Starting tomorrow, the temps are supposed to fall into the 90s but Terry and I are still making plans to head towards the coast one day next week.

  2. Wow, it sure has been hot where you're at but good for you to get out for a while. The Shaw Reserve sounds like a fantastic place to visit, I'm with you though, I'd wait for a cooler day!

    I'm hoping the rain stops here sometime next week, even if only for a day. Mind you I'd rather rain and overcast than the 90-100 degrees you're all getting, that's way to hot for me!

    Enjoy your day Kathy!

  3. Still sounds fun, but yes the heat is awful. It would be so much more tolerable without the humidity! I bet that reserve would be gorgeous in the fall with the turning leaves!

  4. My daughter just called to say it was 90 degrees in Chicago also. Thank goodness it's a bit cooler here. Maybe I should take advantage of it and go for a walk too.

  5. Sounds beautiful. How nice that you have that so near your home.

  6. By this time of the year I feel trapped in the air conditioning as well. From now until October. Makes me wish I lived in another state with more even temps....but where that might be I can't seem to figure out...and then even if I did...could I leave my family behind? Probably not.
    Nice that you found some things to enjoy in spite of the heat.

  7. wow i can only imagine the beauty of area you could explore with your hubby :)