A bald eagle at Russell E. Emmenegger Nature Park

DSC06846We didn’t have time to go far, so a mile and a half loop above the Meramec River just off 270 and 44 sounded perfect. It wasn’t so easy to get to since we had to loop east on 44 after driving south on 270. DSC06847We got off 44 on Geyer Road, turned left on Cragwold Road which basically dead ended into the park, 44 roaring above us. How sad it must have been for the people that loved this bit of Missouri at Russell E. Emmenegger Nature Park OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   DSC06851 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_1730 when that freeway sliced past. It wasn’t hard to find the trail, a long loop through the falling yellow and brown leaves, with red poison ivy on the ground and tropical looking paw paw in the understory.

The birds were quiet this Sunday afternoon right after we left daylight savings time. A chickadee warned against us, but did not sing. The falling leaves sounded like rain.

A young girl stood by the trail, tears on her cheeks, her arms folded defiantly across her jacket. I guess that was her brother and mother up ahead with the friendly poodle, and her father back at the car. Her day did not get any better as she ran with the dog, then fell splayed out on the trail, sobbing loudly. I hope she was just tired and not beginning the long, long life of the overly sensitive.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally we crossed from the woodsy side to the cliffs with the view. We didn’t walk up to the old Lemp mansion site. But the river was hardly visible. We looked instead at the scraped site of the old Chrysler plant, or so another hiker told us. We couldn’t identify the closer buildings, but they did not look fun.

I was glad to see the ridge side glades fenced off with a gentle warning as to their delicate side. I struggled to get a photo with the fence when Dave, looking up, pointed to the fully mature bald eagle soaring the river, then banking right above us! Its unmistakable white glistened in the autumn sun. I couldn’t focus, but got a distant shot back from the parking lot.

The roar of 44 accompanied us the whole way, so I don’t think this will become our favorite park. But I wonder if the limestone cuts here hold fossils. They would be good to collect since they are on a quiet dead end.

Missouri in autumn. Now if only the hunters would be more successful and bring down the deer numbers and the ticks that infest them.

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About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
This entry was posted in birds, environment, Missouri natural areas, Ozarks and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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