Saturday, August 9, 2014

Three Creeks - Round Three

 Back to Three Creeks

For the third time this summer, we returned to Three Creeks Conservation Area for another hike. We did change it up a little bit this time. Normally, we go on the south trails which are closer to house, but we had recently been scouting out some trails on the northern side of the conservation area. We showed up to this trail a few days before our hike and walked in about 1/2 a mile just to check it out. We returned a few days later with all of our gear for this actual hike. The views were so beautiful on this side of the creeks and even the wildlife was different from the southern trails.

There's always at least a little bit of discussion about who will be the "line leader." When Eli is the line leader, he likes to sing "a hiking we will go, a hiking we will go..." It's cute.

The forest isn't very dense at this part so we got a good view of the squirrels stocking away their winter food.

Anybody know what kind of tree this is? They were everywhere and so beautiful.

 Look at those views! We are still on the upper part of the trail. You have to hike pretty far downhill to get to the creek. This picture is the view to the other side of the creek which is the side we usually hike on.

This was Lex's last day being 4. Looking so big!

 Eli just a trekkin along.

 More of the views - These rolling hill views are one of my favorite things about Mid - Missouri.

 This part was really cool. Right in the middle of the woods, there was this part of the trail that was almost prairie like. It had really tall grasses and wildflowers.

 Here's a better shot. You can also see how nicely maintained the trails are, even if it is a little bit narrow in this spot.

 And another. It totally seemed out of the ordinary and made us wonder what kind of creatures might slither out at us.

 Can you see where the deer have made a bed? We didn't see any deer while we were there but here was the proof they had been there!

 Getting a little closer to the creek.

 Lex did much of the trail with his hands up like this so they wouldn't get scratched by the plants.


 And here they are on the last leg of the trail to the creek.

 Once we were in the creek bed, we saw tons and tons of frogs and toads! They were every where and every size. We even saw tiny little tadpoles. We found this guide on Missouri Department of Conservation's site that helped us identify this as a Pickerel Frog. It's common for our area so no frog finding award for us - if there is such a thing.

 The creek had been dammed up by a fallen tree creating this pool of water much deeper than the water on in the creek on our side. Someone told us about a spot down here where you can jump off a cliff into this water. We didn't bring swim clothes and in a few pictures you're about to see why I'm glad we didn't get in the water.

 We can never go to the creek without the boys throwing about a hundred rocks in the water.

 Eeeeeeeek! The first snake we've seen all summer and it was about 15 feet away from us. Fortunately, Jeremy had been saying all along to keep our eyes peeled for snakes because everything just seemed really damp and snake friendly. He spotted this one first going from the bank to the water. Can you see that he's just eaten? He's bulging in the middle. We also saw a smaller one that looked just like this one, but he stayed in the water and I couldn't get a picture. Jeremy stays pretty up to speed on poisonous snakes in our area and we were almost certain this wasn't one, but nonetheless, we kept our distance and soon headed back up the trail. We looked him up when we got home and learned we were right. This Northern Water Snake is not poisonous although he will bite to defend himself.
 Here we are heading back up the trail. Our boys are at the stage where we can't take a picture without a request for a "funny picture" too.

Hands up! 

And there you have it! Even on a beautiful evening on a much more public trail, we still didn't run into any other people here. Because of the views, we can't wait to go back in the fall or winter when you can see for a further distance and also have less risk of running into Mr. Northern Water Snake.

Happy Hiking!

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