Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weldon Springs: October 11-12, 2012

Last October we needed one more overnight, even though it was getting a little chilly. Enter Weldon Springs. The map didn’t look too thrilling, but it’s only 1 ½ hours from home, there’s a river… So we went. 

We checked in at the park office, and the person who checked us in seemed a little inexperienced at such things. I asked about trail conditions, and she said they were overgrown. Apparently she was comparing them to a suburban lawn, because the trails were wide and obvious. She did tell us that in the spring the two more distant campsites flood, so if you’re planning to go, call ahead. 

There are 4 campsites within 100 yards of the trailhead (and outhouses and a pump) that would be good for very inexperienced kids or a gear shake out or anything where you might need to bail.  The most direct route to the further campsites is about a mile. We took a slightly loopier route. 

The trailhead map and the park map show a relatively straightforward 4-way intersection at the bottom of the hill. That is actually a 5-way intersection, with a couple other options close enough to see. We took our time and pulled out a compass (much to Boo’s curiosity). I suspect the other trails would have gotten us there just fine, but I prefer to know where I am.

Trail Map

Besides that, the trails were easy. We saw quite a bit of poison ivy in the woods. The 2 farther campsites are along Salt Creek. The more east site is up on a rise, and the more west site has more easy kid access to the water. (The west site was also used by at least beer-heavy parties. There was broken glass by the fire pit, and we picked up 24 cans.) In October, there was a lengthy sandy beach, and if it had been warmer we would have let her splash in the shallow water. She “fished” with sticks instead.

Thrashing the Waters

After setting up camp, we took a meander along the fishing trail along the creek. That lead to more sandy areas and some climbable trees. Boo took to tree climbing like the monkey she is. She also practiced her knots and tied leaves into a fabulous belt thing. 

Even More Tree Climbing

Lee cooked dinner on the beach, and we ate on a log and watched the creek. Something was jumping in it, but we never caught sight of it. 

Cooking by the Creek

Being October, it was dark before the adults were ready for bed. I tried to take some long-exposure pics of the tent, Lee went on an evening walk, and we watched the stars. Early in the night we could hear the dogs in the campground. Later in the night, we heard coyotes and owls. It got down around 40F overnight, but we were toasty, even Boo who squirmed off her sleeping pad. Better prepared for that temp than Siloam Springs last spring… 

Breakfast was chilly, and I was glad I’d packed Boo’s winter coat. Warm oatmeal and cocoa/tea/coffee were what we all needed. We packed up and got to the car so early that we decided to hike some of the other trails in the park. Boo said we should carry our bags to build our muscles. What an awesome kid. 

Chilly Breakfast

The Schoolhouse trail has a wetland area (dried up in the drought, sad), a little wooded area, and a beautiful red/gold prairie. 

Good trip. Low miles, but plenty to poke around and look at. We’re planning on bringing Boo’s best friend here this summer for her first overnight.

Boo's Trip Report

Taking a Picture (of Taking a Picture)

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