The Katy Trail – On Our Bikes Again
Heading out again to enjoy/tackle the Katy Trail after a great weekend in St. Louis with my family, Barry and I felt better prepared (we carried less weight, had tools accessible, and had experienced biking miles each day), and this time, we drove our bikes to trail heads where we could reach good accommodations. We did get to Clinton, at the west end of the Katy Trail although we didn’t bike all sections of the trail. The second part of our trip began in Columbia, Missouri. Highlights of our next five days on the trail include –
The Katy Trail –
We love the trail, and for much of the time, we were the only people there.
Enjoying the college town atmosphere, we slept in Columbia for two nights and spent the days riding the Katy in different directions.
Surprises? From the Katy in the section between Rocheport and Jefferson City, we could see Native American petroglyphs carved high on the cliffs.
Problems? We saw lots of kudzu, the parasitic vine that blankets plants so very little needed light gets through. I wanted to rip it all out. Although the vines come out easily, they grow back quickly and kill the plants they cover.
And we saw evidence of nitrogen runoff from the fields — probably too much chemical fertilizer.
Also, why didn’t we see abundant wildlife? The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook, 8th edition published in 2005, describes numerous birds on the trail: “St. Louis Audobon Society members had already identified about 12 birds in their first two minutes of being in McBaine: yellow rumped warbler, eastern phoebe, killdeer, grackle and the red-winged blackbird to name a few” (81).
Although we rode through McBaine, which was practically washed away in the 1993 flooding Missouri River, we saw few birds there or anywhere along the trail. Is it because we are not practiced bird watchers? Were we there at the wrong time of the year? Especially in the conservation area where we saw the hawk, we did hear several birds, but I didn’t see even one red-winged blackbird. Where are the birds?
Entrepreneurial Spirit – In the small towns along the now defunct rails some small businesses are evident. Some wonderful old, restored houses are B&B’s catering to the Katy Trail riders. The towns offer investment opportunities to daring entrepreneurs.
History? According to information on the Katy, we learned much about Missouri. For instance, we learned that William Becknell and his handful of men left Franklin, Missouri, in 1821 with horses and mules for trade and headed west. They met Mexican soldiers who said that Mexico had won independence from Spain and that trade with Mexico would be welcomed. Becknell’s party went on to Santa Fe, traded their goods, and returned to Franklin in January 1822 with tremendous profits in silver. Becknell made two more successful trading trips to Santa Fe and thus started more than fifty years of trade between the U.S. and Mexico on the Santa Fe Trail.
Surprises on the Trail –
A casino where we spent the night
We were surprised by the town of Sedalia too. The Bothwell Hotel, a beautifully renovated 1927 building, is well worth a stop. Our room was the 1927 size but quite sufficient and lovely.
Public Art –
We love the Katy Trail and think you will too. Hop on your bikes and enjoy the Katy Trail.
To listen to Cindy Palos’ Travel Angel radio interview about the Katy Trail experience, go to <http://travelangel.podbean.com/#.Un1q8UqAWlU.email>.
And if you want to create some of the great food we had at Joey’s Birdhouse in McKittrich, go to Joey’s Experimental Kitchen. The link is for the first part of a series on naturally fermented foods. We got to taste her sauerkraut, melon kim chi, pickled red onions, and the berry scrub! : <http://www.midmoitv.tv/videos/joeys-experimental-kitchen-season-2-episode-1-pt-3-naturally-fermented-foods/>