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Posts Tagged ‘J W Well Nature Park’

My husband and I love to travel. We’ve been to a lot of amazing places to experience the outdoors — our 10/10/10 climb of Mount St. Helen’s stands out as one of our best adventures of the last year.  It’s not tough to find adventure in a place like the Cascade Mountains. Going across the country to climb an active volcano was big, exciting, and new.  It takes much more creativity to find adventure in more common places, and that’s why I submit to you, for your adventure seeking consideration: Palmyra, Mo.

What?!? You mean that little town you pass by on Highway 61 when you’re heading to Hannibal or St. Louis?

Yeah, that one.

Mary Polleti and Laura by the big hollow tree.

The game that originally drew me off of the highway and into Palmyra was Geocaching. (You might remember my February blog about Geocaching: The adventure GPS scavenger hunt game where a cache is hidden, marked with GPS coordinates, and then waits to be found by anyone with a GPS enabled device.)  I was surprised and delighted to find at least 3 Geocaches are hidden in the Palmyra area.  2 of these were hidden back in Dr. JW Well Nature Park.

The JW Well Nature Park sits behind the fairgrounds and Flower City Park in Palmyra. The two parks combine to offer several trails. Some are paved or have gravel, and others are normal forest trails.  There is a map of the trails on a sign next to the tennis courts, so you can pick the one that sounds the best to you.

The Nature Trail begins at the entrance to JW Well Park, and is a 1-mile loop through a small part of the 200+ acre park.  This was the gateway to our adventure.  We hiked the loop then left the trail to search for owls. (It is my summer goal to photograph a Great Horned Owl. You’ll be the first readers to know when I’ve done it…)

Justin strikes a silly pose over the creek bed.

We followed the whoooo whooooing of owls up a dry creek bed. There we explored our balance on fallen trees, checked out the formations the water had carved out of the stone in the creek bed, and basically poked around for all the fun we could find.  My husband climbed up forest litter like scaffolding while I examined some sun-bleached animal remains for clues to their origin, and our friend Mary took pictures of some beautiful wildflowers.  We moved on and found two of the biggest trees I’ve ever seen in our area.  They both turned out to be dead and hollow, and I stuck my head inside a hole in one to get a glimpse of the cave-like interior. We emerged from the woods several hours later (having failed to locate the owl that had been making so much noise) next to a lovely pond replete with ducks and geese.

So there you have it: a day in the forest, close to home, with adventure ready and waiting.  While you’re in Flower City Park, be sure to check out the tennis courts, swimming pool, fair grounds, shelter houses with grills, and Frisbee golf course. Adventure is everywhere, you’ve just got to Get Out and find it!

Inside the hollow tree.

For directions and more information: http://www.showmepalmyra.com/parksrec.html

Original Post April 18, 2011

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