Friday, June 10, 2016

Eagle Bluff Conservation Area Day 3

During this past Memorial Day 3 day weekend, we could not get enough hiking. The times we were not on trails (or spending time with friends at cookouts), we were at home researching trails and finding places on the map to explore. This final day at Eagle Bluff Conservation Area was one of the BEST hiking days we have had in a while. We were searching for the ever elusive famous lookout. On day 3, we left with a plan (as opposed to the other days when one adventure just led to another). We started early on this last day because we knew we would be asking a lot out of Lex and Eli and their little legs. We wanted them to be well rested before this hike.

For those of you who have also been searching for this hike, you enter through the Providence Access to the Katy Trail, and head north on the trail.

The theme of this hike should have been "Turtles, Snakes, and Frogs." Because we saw them all. And lots of them. With the water levels up along the Missouri River and Perche Creek, the animals must have all come out to play.

 A little view of Perche Creek. There were quite a few boats out on this day.

This was our view from most of the Katy Trail part of the hike. Not too bad.

Not the typical old rickety bridge we usually see on trails.

The boys.

And a peek through the trees. It was so calm.

And then..... We finally found it! The sign pointing to the overlook. Yeah! This spot was about 1.3 miles from where we parked at the Providence Access.

Once you get to this spot, it's pretty well marked.

At this point, you are off the Katy Trail and into the woods. They do have a bike rack here, in case you biked the Katy Trail. You cannot bike this trail (you'll see why in a minute).

The sign says "Strenuous Climb, Beautiful View." Accurate on both accounts.

So you walk a little bit on the trail above, and then you get to this. A stairway to the sky.  They are steep and uneven. And I'll admit that even though I hike all the time, I did have to stop to rest a couple of times. The boys did great. And I mostly looked forward to how fun it would be to come back down.

Here we go!

There is a resting spot a little more than half way up so you get a peek of the view.

A look back down.

Once your past the stairs, there's just a little more of a hike (you can see the lookout from this point)

A very cool bridge in the middle of the forest.

And finally we arrived. I am so glad we did not have to share the lookout with anyone else on this day. We totally owned it.

And the view! Sigh! I love Missouri.

And something else really cool happened while we were up there. As soon as we walked on to the lookout, We saw these massive turkey vultures swarming from this dead tree.

They flew so close to the lookout (honestly, a little too close sometimes). The boys kept saying, "They're putting on a show for us!" and it honestly seemed just like that. There was probably a little bit of territorial showiness going on as well. It was so magnificent to see.

Another view!

And another. Honestly, you could see forever.

I want to go back.

 A family selfie. I mean, could those clouds be any more perfect?

 We stayed on the lookout and had a snack and water before we headed back.

So there appeared to be many more trails at the top of the bluff up here, but we were worried about how much longer the boys would last, so we just did a little loop around. We will be ready for those in another year or two, I imagine.

Check out the different view of the bridge we crossed.

The light is hitting it just perfectly. I might frame this one.

So on the way back down, I asked the boys to count the stairs for me. Lex counted 150 something stairs (he lost count somewhere in the 150's). Eli counted about 50, but mostly because every time he got to 59 he started back at 40. Jeremy also counted and counted 160. So we will go with that. If you decide to come hike this, plan on going up somewhere between 150 and 160 steps.

And going down WAS much more fun.

We rested again at the bottom of the stairs and then headed back for our 1.3 mile trek back to the car. Eli did get pretty tired on the way back and I actually carried him piggy back style for some of it. Poor kid. We wore him out. He slept in the car almost immediately.

 Another turtle. He was so cute. I did not get a picture of the 2 very large snakes that we saw right at the end of the trail. One of them was right beside me in the grass and I didn't see until it started moving. Scared me to death. Almost immediately, we saw another one just as big on the other side of the trail. I am so glad it was at the end of our hike, because if we had seen them at the beginning, I would have been paranoid the entire time.

Here are some stats brought to you by Geo Tracker.

An amazing hike! I highly recommend it!

Want to read more about Eagle Bluffs? Here's the link to our other 2 days of hiking.
Day 1
Day 2

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