Friday, November 2, 2012

Missouri River Greenway

The tires for our motor home have come in and we had them installed today.  Hooray, we are now a bit closer to our goal of heading south!  My sister Julia suggested that we check out the Missouri River Greenway Trail while we are waiting on our tires, as the trail is just down the road from the tire shop.  That turned out to be an excellent suggestion.  Hard to believe that there is any trail left in the St.Louis area which we have not covered, but the Greenway Trails have just come about in the past ten years.  An interpretive sign along the trail explained the building of the "river ring".  It is a system of 8 hiking trails along a number of rivers such as the Mississippi, Meramec and the Missouri.  The goal is to have all the Greenway Trails eventually connect to each other.  I think it is an exciting concept and we look forward to checking them all out in the future.  The trail we visited today is along the Missouri River in Bridgeton, Missouri.
  As we walked along the river we could easily see historic St.Charles across the river.  We have been on the Katy Trail and the riverfront park on that side of the river.  It was interesting to see those familiar landmarks from a new vantage point.  Below is a picture of old St.Charles and its waterfront.
The Missouri River Greenway is a paved trail which winds through a forest.  Many of the trees in that forest have proven to be a tasty meal for beavers. 
And it is not the small trees which the beavers are chewing on, as you may notice by the circumference of the tree pictured above.  It is a very large tree, which will probably soon be cut down by park rangers.  We noticed several large trees, chewed on like the one above, which have been cut down and now lie along the trail path.  We did not see any beavers in action, but we did see quite a few woodpeckers hammering on the dead trees.  Also, perched on a tree over the river we espied a lone night heron.
 Before closing here I want to share with you what we learned from an interpretive sign along the trail about the road on which this park is located, namely St. Charles Rock Road.  Before it became a paved road it was a path which Native Americans took when they traveled between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.  When Louis Blanchette established the village of St.Charles in 1769 he named it the road to St.Charles. In 1837 it was a toll road.  Just after the Civil War the road was paved with compressed layers of stone to make a hard surface.  Thereafter it was know as the Rock Road, as well as St.Charles Rock Road.  In 1921 it became the first concrete highway in the state, and today it is the oldest highway in Missouri.  Hope I have not bored you with this information, but I found it very fascinating as I have traveled on the Rock Road for about 35 years and knew nothing of its impressive history!

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