Due to COVID-19, I have limited my out-of-state travel. In its place I have taken up a quest to explore new-to-me spots near my home in Union, Mo.
My recent travels only reaffirmed my belief that Missouri is one of the most beautiful states in America.
Thanks to a map and a sense of wonder, I found a remote creek with a bluff that reminded me of Echo Bluff State Park.
I also rediscovered a state forest with features that are comparable to the crystal blue mountain lakes found in Colorado.
I started my adventure on a Tuesday afternoon, heading north of Union on Highway 47 across the Missouri River into Warren County. Past Marthasville, I decided to take Charrette Creek Road in its entirety.
I have heard of this creek and scenic drive from various friends and locals for decades. After all, an area that my friends at Blumenhof Winery named a wine after has to be good, right?
This drive was a gem. It started off a lot like a typical gravel road, but in a very short time I was treated to a young fawn running alongside the road, various wildflowers, old farms, and bluffs.
As the road continued to the north, the bluffs along the creek only become more grand. The road goes from being fairly “tame” to having several low water crossings and gravel bars.
Near the end of the road, I was treated to a spring-fed swimming hole with a bluff that almost rivals the one at Echo Bluff State Park.
I visited with a couple of moms and their kids who were enjoying this spot. They, like me, have lived nearby for decades and just discovered this location because they are also limiting travel this summer to play it safe.
We had a great chat about how exciting it is to find such beautiful locations near our homes as their kids splashed and swam in the cool clear water.
I kept thinking of the wonderful memories those moms are creating for their children!
In typical St. Louis Metro Area fashion, Charrette Creek Road changes names as you head out of the valley. It becomes Schuetzenground Road as you head north to an area that is nestled between Warrenton and Innsbook.
This area is just 15 minutes south of I-70 and is home to Reifsnider State Forest.
As soon as I turned into Reifsnider, I saw yet another young deer. I pulled over and we had a nice staring contest for about 3 minutes. It was a lovely greeting to the forest.
I have to admit this is not my first time in this MDC state forest. I had gone there a long time ago, but the low water creek crossing was too high to safely navigate and my time there was limited.
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