Rockhounding was a bust, but a hike at Wakonda State Park makes up for it
Outdoor journalist Sara Karnes visits trails and conservation areas to photograph the sites and write about her adventures. Look for his articles online and in print.
Lewis County, Missouri — This story was supposed to be about mining geodes. I was going to regale you with tales of dirt in order to find the buried minerals, but it wasn’t meant to be.
The forecast for most of the state is for drought conditions, but one corner geodes are prominent, the skies have opened up and doused the areas we were to visit.
Rather than let the rain put a complete damper on our five-hour journey, we instead looked for places to hike and found Wakonda State Park.
While the name may conjure up images of Black Panther’s home from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wakanda, the spelling is just a bit different and we didn’t fly to sub-Saharan Africa to find it.
Wakonda State Park’s six lakes attract migratory waterfowl of all kinds, and largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish swim through the waters, according to Wakonda State Parks. Missouri.
Just off Highway 61 in La Grange, a few hours north of Springfield, Wakonda State Park is an area close to the Mississippi River. It was raining pretty well, but Trent Holloway and I explored anyway. We investigated the sandy beach before hitting the trails.
By the time we were halfway up the Sand Prairie trail, the rain had subsided to a patchy drizzle and the gravel path was teeming with wildlife. A pair of white-tailed deer, nearly a dozen cottontail rabbits and a multitude of birds gathered to finish a meal.
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While checking a berry bush, we noticed droppings on the ground. Later we speculated that it belonged to a bear, which led me to write about being aware of bears while hiking.
I hope the next time we travel to the northeast corner of the state I can dig for geodes and report back to all your dear readers, but for now hiking this piece of land was a reprieve before returning to the sweltering heat of the Ozarks.