Friday, May 1, 2020

Parks and paths--we lived up to our name the past two days!

FRIDAY Pat fixed us scrambled eggs with cheese and sausage for brunch.  It had been on our list, but thanks to the description by my sister-in-law, Sally, we packed some snacks (which we didn't eat) and went to the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center in Joplin, MO, about a 20 minute drive from here.  

The weather the past couple of days has been fantastic.  It was 81 degrees, sunny, very breezy, no chance of rain, and some very pretty, wispy clouds.  The conservation and Audubon website said the trails were open, but the center was closed.  Pat thought otherwise, but we didn't actually check.  Not sure but it could be on the first round of things to open in the state Monday? There were several parking lots to choose from, all had several cars and were close to the path.  It was a popular spot with people of all ages and dogs.  

The main path was asphalt perfect for Krikkit, both for an easy walking surface and her stroller (she was in and out too many times).  We entered on the short path and at the large shelter turned south first.  There were several rock paths that branched off and headed toward Shoal Creek where there were eager fishermen.  We took a couple of short ones to get a better view of the creek.  A rather wide creek at least in Joplin, so much so, I thought it was a river.  It was a looped path, so when we got back to the shelter we continued on.  The path now closely followed the creek.  They had picnic tables, although more concrete pads, than tables, along the way and a couple of canoe launching spots.  There was a low-water walking bridge a ways down, maybe at one time a car bridge?  We passed a little spring that seemed to be popular with the little kids as it was very shallow.  On the creek we saw kayaks and on the far side a couple of sand bars that had families playing in the water.  

The path from the parking lot had hopscotch and various kid activities.

Low water bridge and table-less picnic table slab

The goal of the Conservation and Audubon Center is to promote and protect the park and surrounding chert glade environment.  What is a chert glade environment?  Well, let me tell you.  Chert glade environments are near desert-like environments that only exist in southern Missouri.  Plants growing here are characteristic of arid areas, and other plants have adapted but may be stunted.  No, we didn't see any cacti.  There are only 60 acres of chert glades remaining, 27 of which are in Wildcat Glades.  I need to learn more about birds!  I heard some unusual bird calls but I only saw a couple of the variety of birds that live here.  We walked about 3.2 miles at a slow to moderate pace, depending on if Krikkit was walking or riding.  Thanks Sally, certainly a place worth visiting!

I told Pat the rope would stand out more if he would go swing on it--no go!

LOTS of good smelly stuff here!
THURSDAY afternoon we headed to the Carthage Municipal Park.  It was huge!  As well as the standard toys and picnic shelters, it had a roller skating rink, swimming pool, golf course, Kiddieland, Jr. County Fairgrounds and an 18 hole golf course.  This is just one of the parks in this town of 14,000.  The park was mostly built as a WPA (Federal Work Project) in 1937 during the depression.  Many of the buildings were made of native rock and stone.

The swimming pool was unique.  It was comprised of 3 pools side by side.  The first one looked to be under 4', the second one deeper, and the 3rd one deep enough for diving, including a high dive.  In addition there was a kiddie pool.  I have my doubts if these are original, but... It had a YMCA sign up, so I assume they play a part in its upkeep.  The stone bathhouse appeared to be original. On the outside were stone bleachers to watch the swimmers.

Next to the pool was the roller rink.  Originally it was a dance Pavillion.  It has stone around the base.  The many windows it must have originally had were boarded up.  

Across from the skating rink is the Municipal Park Stadium that was originally built as an amphitheater.  The 3,000 seat Fieldstone stadium housed a ball team from a 4-state league from 1946-1952.  The Carthage High School Tigers play in this historic stadium.

Kiddieland was built by the Kiwanis in 1948.  It was closed today, but a sign said tickets were 50 cents.  The gated area holds a small carousel and a few kiddie rides such as small cars and airplanes.  The rides were made from surplus Army WWII material.  They also have a miniature train that travels around this section of the park.

It was a beautiful day to walk around all of the green space and enjoy the breeze within the trees.  We found the park impressive, I can only imagine how outstanding it must have been in 1937.

I finished V.I. Warshawski's Dead Land by Sara Paretsky tonight.  Although I always think I want to sit down and read a book straight through, I never do.  I just don't want a story to end that quickly.  Dead Land was another great book by Paretsky.  Now I have to wait for the next one!


  1. It sounds like there may be more opportunities at Wildcat Glades than I remember. Of course we usually had limited time and/or 2 boys who were easily bored or tired after a short time of enjoying nature. I think the center was open one of the times we were there. The weather was in the 70s today and is predicted to be upper 70s over the weekend. It would be great weather for hiking but I'll probably spend a lot of time in my garden where there are no crowds. I don't feel like people around here are taking the virus seriously enough. Signed Sally

    1. Well, between Krikkit and myself we can't hike right now,and I don't think it was a hiking place, but it was a nice walk. We really enjoyed it! There were quite a few people there, but most seemed to keep their distance. We got off the trail when people were near. With things opening up more people will think it's back to normal. I hope they are right, but science, the medical world, and common sense tells me otherwise. Enjoy your gardening!

  2. Unfortunately, I am Krikkit speed too, only I don't get a stroller! I'm sure I drive Pat nuts. Too many specialists, too many opinions. Hoping to do a telehealth old fashioned in-person vi as it with my family doctor this week.