Sunday, April 25, 2010

Walk at Wildcat

It was a cloudy day that looked like rain, but the thought of a little water never detered us! Off we went to Wildcat Park.  The site of The Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, Joplin, Missouri, is adjacent to some of the last remaining chert glades, a globally unique habitat found only in this area and the biologically rich Shoal Creek; an important place for migratory birds and other wildlife. The park itself has been in existance for many years, with primitive hiking trails and fishing along Shoal Creek, but the chert glades were slowly being destroyed by human misuse. A few years ago, in partnership with Audubon Missouri, the City of Joplin and the Missouri Department of Conservation, spearheaded by a group of concerned citizens, the Center was established. Opened in 2007, the Center itself is, as their brochure states, "a celebration of nature. Innovative "green" technologies create a truly distinctive building in keeping with our mission of appreciating, conserving and understanding our natural world." The local Missouri Department of Conservation offices are also located on site. New trails were built and paved, a bluebird trail was set with bluebird houses, native trees and shrubs were planted and much clearing of trash and restoration of the natural woods was done, largely in part by a group of dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly and ceaselessly to make the center a viable, living thing for all to enjoy.

There is wonderful diversity of life here! From the rocky chert glades to the lush river growth and beautiful wildflowers, it is a wonderful place to spend a day. Trails wind through the park, along the river, across bridges to neighboring McIndoe Park and back, about a 3 mile walk, most of it easy, some of it a bit of a rough hike around and across cliffs and ridges. We only walked about a third of it today, taking our time, lots of photos and enjoying the park. It never did rain! Come walk along with us!

A glimpse of the glades

Just a tiny corner, rich with miniature plant life.

A fine pair of Canada geese

This is the entrance to a cave, one of many in the area. The actual entrance is gated to  keep it from being destroyed. Can't you just imagine early Native Americans using this? Perfect location on the river, plenty of chert and flint for arrowheads, game, shelter. Osage was a local tribe but there were others who traveled through here and also there were prehistoric tribes in the Ozarks. 

This Canada Goose had a quiet little cove all to itself.
This is wild impatiens, or jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) . You will often find it where you find this:
Poison ivy. Jewelweed is an antidote for the rash.

This is the old Reddings Mill bridge. It was taken out of service and a new one built; it is now part of the trail system.

Baptisia, and a fine fat bumblebee that wouldn't stop and pose for me nicely. He was much too busy.

Picnic tables and benches were donated to make the bridge a rest stop. Here we would cross the river and follow the trail on the other side. Today this is our point to turn back.

Looking downriver

Headed for home.

Blackberry blossoms

Lousewort (Pedicularis lanceolata)
Native viburnum


The park will be closing soon so it's time to go home! Thanks for walking with us. We'll share with you another part of our park another day. If you'd like to read more about Wildcat Glades, here's the link:

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely hike you had! I never knew wild impatiens could stop the poison ivy itch - I must remember that. Thanks for stopping by my blog and picking me on Blotanical. I lived in St. Louis for 16 years before moving back east so I've got an affinity for hearty missouri gardners. Keep up the good work!