A Walk in the Woods

A visit to Emmenegger Nature Park in West St. Louis County

I try to walk regularly for exercise. Most of my walks are in the town where we live.  

It is a mile-and-a-half from our home to the city hall and I go there and back for my three-mile walk.  

If I feel like a shorter walk, I turn around at the library which is a mile from our home.

Bill Oder

This walk that I take in town is on a sidewalk the whole time and its sole purpose is for exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it’s a boring walk. It’s not that at all. I enjoy it very much.  

We live in a very nice town with clean streets and neat, well cared for lawns and friendly people who always meet me with a smile along the way.

However, like I said it is a walk on sidewalks with cars passing by and occasional stops to wait on traffic to cross streets and police sirens and other city sounds.  

It is nothing, absolutely nothing, like a walk in the woods.  

A walk in town is a Ford Escape, a very good vehicle. A walk in the woods is a Ford Lincoln, a considerably better vehicle. It’s as simple as that.

My wife and I recently visited Emmenegger Nature Park in west St. Louis County. This area where this park is situated was once owned by the Lemp family in St. Louis who owned a large brewery around the turn of the 20th Century.  

Now it is leased by the Missouri Conservation Department in partnership with the City of Kirkwood. It is situated along the Meramec River and I understand that Bald Eagles are sometimes spotted along the river.  

The nature park itself contains 93 acres of magnificent woods. The park is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is no hunting allowed. It is strictly a place to enjoy walking or hiking in the woods. There are also places for picnics.

There are two trails. One is a half-mile paved (notice that I said paved) trail which is level and easily wheelchair accessible. This is the one that my wife and I checked out.  

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There is another one, the one-mile Bluff Creek Trail, which is not paved and I understand a little more difficult to navigate. We didn’t try that one but I would probably venture a guess that you could consider it a hiking trail.

These woods are filled with a large variety of trees and I’m sure the area shows off a lot of wildflowers starting in the spring.  

Fall is always a good time, I think, to get out into the woods with all the neat colors and the crisp fall air. It just seems that a walk in the woods is all that one needs to clear away some of those cares and worries that are always eating away at us and very often, after a walk in the woods, we find that we have figured out ways to solve those problems.  

And believe it or not, most of our problems are not as difficult as we think and usually can be handled with very simple solutions.  

Nature has a way of putting all of one’s problems in perspective. Nature can be very soothing to our souls if we can just get out there and let it do its job. 

This area is one of many that can get that job done.

We plan to return to this park, probably in the spring. It is easy to find. From the intersection of I-44 and I-270 in west St. Louis County, take I-44 east to the Watson Road exit.  At the first light, turn left onto Geyer Road and then left on Cragwold Road.  

Continue past Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center (see the April 2017 issue of the River Hills Traveler for my article about this great area).  

You’ll go over I-270 and then turn left, the road dead ends at the nature park.

This time of year, you never know when one of those rare warm and sunny days might come along and you would not be wasting your time at all if you would take advantage of such a day and go for a walk in the woods.  

I think you’ll also discover that woods are beautiful year-round.  

(Bill Oder can be reached at oderbill@yahoo.com.)

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