So much can happen from day to day, especially in the spring. On March 30 we headed south to Bella Vista, Ark., to spend Easter weekend with family. That evening we visited Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville too look at the newest displays there. The next day, with temperatures near 70 degrees, we decided to visit Tanyard Creek Nature Trail to see how much water was coming from Lake Windsor over the falls of Tanyard Creek.
Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri had been inundated with rain so the creeks, rivers, and lakes there were higher than usual. That, combined with the pleasant weekend weather, made Tanyard Creek Trail a popular place to visit. The 2.2 mile, easy trail is dog friendly and has several features other than the falls. There are identifying markers throughout, such as at an Indian bluff shelter and another at an old homestead, as well those identifying native plants and trees along the trail. There are also a static bridge and a swinging bridge over the creek as well as plenty of rock to rock crossings for the more daring.
The mayapples were coming up and the redbuds were in bloom when we were there but we found no morels. We did, however, find icy roads and about a dozen traffic accidents as we headed north through Kansas City to our home some 300 miles away. Remember: Spring if fickle, especially when you live in Missouri.
Yes, we’re going to have a white Christmas this year. So, with a bit of snow on the ground and shining sun, we decided to take a little Christmas Eve hike, let the dogs run, and get in a bit of exercise before hitting the eggnog. Surprisingly, we were the first and maybe even the only ones to visit Elam Bend Conservation Area.
Our youngest got to try her hand at driving on snow for the first time, we saw four young bald eagles feeding on a road-kill coyote, and the dogs spooked a deer ahead of us on the trail. Now the dogs are tired, the Christmas cookies are baking, and we’re patiently awaiting Santa’s arrival. Merry Christmas.
This morning I picked green onions from my garden to make coleslaw. This afternoon my narcissus is covered in snow. Snow in March, you ask? Yes, this is Missouri.
It’s been snowing off and on all afternoon but now it’s sticking. Of course it will all be gone by tomorrow and by Monday the temperatures will be back in the 70s. That’s just the way it is and the way it’s likely to be at least until late April or early May.
I can remember one April several years ago when nearly three feet of snow kept me from town when we lived not too far north of here near Russell, Iowa. I don’t think that’s going to happen here this year but who knows. Although I’ll be wearing shorts again next week tomorrow’s just the first day of spring.
Less than a mile north of town three turkeys crossed the highway ahead of us. With snow melting on a free Sunday afternoon, getting outside seemed like a good idea and the turkey running down into the ditch seemed like a good sign we had made the right decision.
Emmett and Leah Seat Memorial Conservation Area is a good place to explore, especially on a warm winter day with snow melting all around. The youngest had hoped to find a new hill to sled down but I warned her we weren’t likely to find such a spot. Sledding was short but creating a mermaid out of snow on a frozen lake was worthwhile.
We found several spots where ice fishermen had recently been, as well as a well used deer crossing on the lake. We also visited the archery range and Walker Cemetery while there. Seat Memorial Conservation Area covers more than 3,400 acres with more than a dozen ponds and is managed for bobwhite quail. It’s also home to trophy sized whitetails, a healthy wild turkey population, and plenty of rabbits and doves. And the fishing’s not bad either, winter, spring, summer or fall.
It snowed Saturday night and again most of the day Tuesday in this part of the state. The kids didn’t get the snow day they had hoped for this morning so no photos from the most recent snow, at least not yet, but here are a few shots of my children (and one of Dad) from winters past.
Kids of all ages — as well as parents — should play outside, especially in the winter. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars, fly to Colorado and learn to snow ski. Just get outside and play, especially when they close school because of the snow.
What better way to begin a new year than with a hike? A relatively warm day was the perfect time to explore Elam Bend Conservation Area south of where we live. Identify animal tracks in the snow, look for whitetail sheds, walk across a pond or two if the ice is thick enough and, if you’re lucky, startle a turkey or deer.
Elam Bend covers more than 1,400 acres along the Grand River. There are no designated hiking trails but there are plenty of Missouri Department of Conservation roads to explore. There’s fishing along the river, deer and turkey are plentiful, and I’ve seen quail and pheasant a time or two. There’s also a shooting range and primitive camping. Old Havana Trail runs through the east side of Elam Bend where you can find the Newby Cemetery from the late 1800s and a boat ramp that provides a great place to end a Grand River float trip after putting in at Gentryville.