On day 3 I broke camp at Arrow Rock and headed NW to Van Meter State Park. This place was so quiet and tranquil – a big and welcome change from Arrow Rock and Finger Lakes. One of the first things I saw after getting out of my car was this little guy:
One of the trails is called the Earthworks Monument Trail and it passes through a large earthen structure built before the Europeans invaded. Here, just read the sign:
Without the sign you wouldn’t know anything was there but much of the “moat” is still visible:Also on tap was the Loess Hills Trail – a loop around the lake and a nice little trail. There was a creek bed at the upper end that was just covered in Jewelweed and hummingbirds:
There is also a trail that leads up a hill to the Vanmeter family cemetery. Many old stones here, some dating to the 1840’s. The Oumessourit Wetland Bluff trail goes along the edge of a wetland area at the bottom of a bluff (duh!). I scared up a bunch of Red-winged blackbirds but otherwise saw little wildlife. I think you would have to spend some quiet time there to really appreciate it but I wasn’t in that kind of mood. From the Missouri Overlook trail I was able to see a sliver of water in the far distance.
It was a pretty nice weekend. I don’t know that any single feature would make the drive worthwhile but the combination of Devil’s Icebox and the Pinnacles should make it a pretty easy decision for anyone within 1-4 hours of Columbia.