A Walk in the Woods by Katharine Spigarelli

 Chinquapin Trail

Chinquapin Trail

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How do you describe a perfect day? For me, it’s being outside and there’s no place better to be outside than in the Ozarks. And that’s exactly how a few of us spent one recent Sunday afternoon, hiking the Ozark Chinquapin Trail in the Big Sugar State Park. The weather was perfect. The sky was clear blue and filled with beautiful puffy white clouds. The temperature was in the low 60s. There was no need to apply bug repellent because the ticks and chiggers were not active. And not only were the conditions nearly perfect, but the company was wonderful.

Curiosity and questions abounded. Lots of photographs were taken. Smiles and laughter were abundant. Did I mention that it was a perfect day? The Ozark Chinquapin Trail is one of my favorite places to hike. It has nearly everything the Ozarks has to offer: a cool stream, woodland plants, wonderful rock formations, pools of water teeming with life, trees of all varieties, wildflowers, birds, and more. Everywhere you look there is something different to see.

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I’ve hiked this trail in nearly every season. I have to say that I have avoided it in summer because chiggers and ticks love me, but I don’t love them. However, that’s going to change. On our Sunday hike, we saw remnants of so many summer blooming wildflowers that I can’t wait to hike it next summer. (I’m going to go prepared for those critters that love to eat my flesh.)

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If you do decide to take a hike along the trail, be sure to go prepared. Take something to journal in, your camera (or smart phone), perhaps a field guide or two, and an abundant sense of wonder. The hike will take around 3 hours so be sure to take some water and a snack. If you are a nature lover, the hike could take much longer because there is so much to see and explore.

I truly believe in the healing properties of being outside and experiencing all that nature has to offer. Nature is good for the soul. Hiking is good for your health. Being outdoors on a hike in nature is the formula for a perfect day. Enjoy

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Katharine Spigarelli joined the Master Naturalists in 2010, but she feels she has been a naturalist all her life. She grew up in the country and being outdoors is where she loves to be.  Photography is a passion and nature photography, in particular, inspires her.  She is proud to be a tree hugger.

Photos by Katharine Spigarelli and Jeff Cantrell

Posted on October 25, 2017 .