Wendy and I would spend the last half of Fall Break 2015 in central and northwest Oklahoma. But for the first two days of our respite from work, I returned to Bennett Spring State Park in Missouri for a personal getaway to hike and take my mind off a stressful start to the school year. During Spring Break 2011, I hiked 8.7 miles at Bennett Spring on the Natural Tunnel Trail, following that with 1.5 miles on the Bridge and Bluff Trails.
I was less driven on this return trip, more focused on relaxing and getting some photographs than racking up trail miles. In the end, I hiked a little over four miles on this trip. After the 3.5 hour drive to the park, I hiked 2.35 miles on the River Trail. I started at the deep hole of the spring itself, and enjoyed the autumn leaves.
I passed the iconic pump house along the River Trail, watching the water tumble over the rocks. When I reached the bridge, I got a high shot of the fishermen below. One fellow strode out onto the spillway to fish.
The hatchery was next, so reminiscent of the one at Roaring River, where workers were weighing fish. The park store was dressed up for the season, and I passed the entrance to the dining lodge when thunder bellowed, and a light rain began. That led me to circumnavigate the dining lodge and return to the shelter of the store’s eaves, hoping the showers would cease. I phoned Wendy and gave up on hiking when my iPhone’s RadarUS app showed the rain would last quite awhile.
That eventually led back around and down to the creek to intersect the Bluff Trail, which lived up to its name and required a strenuous climb up the side of the hill at one point. The last trail was the Whistle Trail, named for the shape of the pipes under a bridge. I returned to the Nature Center by the park roads so I could enjoy watching the stream and the fisherfolk one last time.
Then it was time to bid the park’s beauty adieu and return to the beautiful woman awaiting me back in Bartlesville. Wendy and I were both ready to set out for the rest of the break on a short trip to a state park I enjoyed in my youth.