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Monday, October 13, 2014

A Tactical Error: LaBarque Creek Missouri

I had seen a few images by Chet Gaugh (an awesome local photographer) of LaBarque Creek, then I noticed that "Camping Missouri" had updated their cover photo on facebook to one of LaBarque Creek... so I told myself I had to find it. 

Sunday, on the way home from errands in the big city, I found LaBarque Creek Conservation Area. It's just south of Eureka and Pacific... and the minute I arrived I knew this place was special! 
I crossed a foot bridge and felt instantly at home. 
Creating this special spot took a lot of teamwork!

I had my trusty camera and camera bag with all my goodies for a photo shoot in the woods ready... I crossed the foot bridge and started on the trail... and I knew it was a 3 mile trek, but I felt pretty optimistic about it. Maybe too optimistic. 
See the heart on the tree? Too cool!
At first I took my time, clicking pics and trying not to slip on the muddy inclines. All seemed to be on track for an awesome walk.

Then, it hit me... this trail is a bit slippery, the mist is picking up, and I have about an hour of light left. 
So peaceful. The woods were this amazing mix of green, yellow, red... I love Fall in Missouri!
I started to pick up my pace, and even pondered turning around even though the trail is a loop. When I saw the sign that said "1 mile" I (stupidly) said to myself, "Keep going! Just one more mile!" 
Someone found all these, but I took the time to stack them! 
These rocks needed my organizational skills to create a Cairn in the woods! 
Just a bit later, I had about 10 more minutes of good light left, and the rain picked up... that's when my heart sank. 

I saw a sign that said "2 miles." I clearly hadn't read the other sign correctly. I still had a mile left. A long. Wet. Slippery. Rainy. Getting-more-and-more dark. Mile. 
Taking this photo helped calm my nerves a bit once I realized I had about 10 minutes of light left and a little over a mile to my "Betty" aka Ford Escape...which is fitting because I was ready to Escape the trail at this point! 
Just a little damp! 
I had several thoughts race through my head that could possibly fall into paranoid range. However, the main thought was two-fold. 

#1. Don't lose the trail. 
#2. Don't fall. 

My camera bag is fairly water tight, so my camera didn't get hurt. I also have several items I carry on me when hiking, especially just by myself. I had my emergency whistle, compass, mini-flashlight, cell phone, hoodie, water bottle, pepper spray, napkins/tp, and more... 

That mini-flash light came in handy for the first time EVER.
Rain. Rain. Rain. 
Brilliant Colors to Warm my Soul! (it was a bit damp and chilly!) 
I couldn't create an image like this! The water droplets were just perfect upon this leaf! 
What I could see of the last mile as the light kept dimming - was stunning. I must go back to this area when there's more time and daylight. I could see areas you can off-trail towards the creek, rock overhangs (one I figured that if I had to I could camp out under if I lost my way and/or the rain got worse!), and amazing Karst topography. 

I have to be honest, at one point on the trail I could see the creek through the foggy misty rain... I could even make out the creek, along with a fence and horse barn, but then the trail turned up and away... I was near tears... but I told myself to trust the trail blazers, but if my compass didn't show me turning back towards LaBarque Creek with the signs of civilization in at least 10 minutes, I was going to go off trail. 
There's a fungus among us! 
My worst-case scenerios didn't play out and the trail did indeed turn back towards where I knew I needed to be. A few carefully placed steps (with my flashlight) down the rocks and the mud, led me back to the footbridge. I have to say I was elated to finally be finished. My sweaty, rainy, muddy selfie was my "reward" - my "I did it!" photo. 
Now that's a face of relief! And, what an adorable face! Who wouldn't want to see that daily? Ha! :-)
A little over 24 hours later, and I must say that I do like the challenge in the woods that my little "tactical error" created. Why? You have to think. You have to trust. You have to believe in yourself - knowing you will not lose the trail and you will not lose your footing. 

However, next time - I think I'll make sure I give myself way more time to explore in full daylight when I return to LaBarque Creek Conservation Area. 

Here's the link to learn more about this lovely place! http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=200608


Photos and Words by MK Designs!
Until next time... ~ michelle 

10 comments:

  1. This looks like a very pretty place! I would love to go on a hike and get some photos like these!

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    1. It really is a lovely spot & I hope to return!

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  2. I love how the colors "pop" and the multicolor stacks of rocks!

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  3. I have totally been in that situation. Raining getting heavier, sun disappearing, not sure if the mile marker means 1 left to go or only 1 so far. Good job bringing a flashlight. I always think after adventures like these, that ultimately they aren't so bad. That I would have made it out even if it got completely dark, or I had to hike in a thunderstorm. Sure, it's a challenge...and I think that builds confidence in us, sometimes unnoticed until we face the next "bad timing" out in nature.

    And those are some great pictures! I am limited to a camera phone at this point, so I always have an appreciation for the really good shots that people share from places that I am familiar with.

    Check out this facebook group, if you haven't already. https://www.facebook.com/groups/showmemissouri/
    And then there are also a good amount of hiking and nature groups, like https://www.facebook.com/groups/103858306389105/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/midwesthikingenthusiast/

    Take care!
    Gabe

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    1. Thanks for the feedback & page suggestions - I will check them out later. About half of these images are from my iPhone / half from my Canon Rebel DSLR. The iPhone ones I edited - I used the free photo editor app "snapseed" I highly recommend it. Has a lot of fun basics like crops & contrast, and some more advanced options like HDR etc :) a good free photo app. :)

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  4. Love the tree with the red leaves!

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  5. These are beautiful. Totally worth it.

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    1. I agree Donna, it was worth it! Even though I may have had a mild mental moment at the end!

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