Thursday, May 5, 2016


The view from our campsite

Failed group selfie #1
On Sunday morning, Zach and I did something we haven’t done since September 29th, 2014— we went camping! Yes, I know it’s strange that a couple people who camped every night for almost five months straight would go for a year and a half without sleeping under the stars... but actually, maybe it’s not that strange. 

Failed group selfie #2
The trip was the suggestion of my brother Christian, and since my sister Mary was also in town from California, and since Zach is now often getting two days in a row off (which is AMAZING), we were able to swing it. We packed Christian’s car to the gills and set off for Pere Marquette State Park, a family favorite for hiking.

We stopped first at the Olin Nature Preserve in Godfrey, Illinois, which I had never even heard of until I spotted a listing in the Great River Road tourist guide. This parcel of private land, open to the public, is a lovely place to hike, featuring a series of interconnected trails that feature oak woodland, views of the Mississippi River, small picturesque streams, and little waterfalls. If you’re looking for a leisurely day hike in the St. Louis area, I highly recommend it!

Beaver Falls

Before anyone asks... no, I'm not pregnant. I'd just eaten too many croissants that morning.

Next we drove to Pere Marquette, and hiked the longest loop of trails available, tracing the well-worn (and very muddy) paths that we’ve been hiking since we were kids. It’s still my favorite hiking spot in the St. Louis area. 

I had never actually camped at Pere Marquette before, but it turns out the sites are quite nice: we found a secluded spot on a hill underneath some locust trees, with a picnic table, a water pump, plenty of flat spaces for tents, and a tennis court about a hundred yards away. (Not to mention the Lodge just a two-minute walk away, which has a very nice restaurant.) All this for $10 a night! 

Our brand new tent (we killed our old one on the PCT)

We set up our tents, played tennis for a while, made a gigantic bonfire, cooked brats and marshmallows, and chatted until stars spangled the sky. That night I laid down on my slightly-deflated sleeping pad and stared up at the stars twinkling through the mesh.

I had forgotten how much I missed sleeping under an open sky. 


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