Sunday, June 19, 2011

Taking to the Trails

First let me say

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers and grandfathers...
           Have a special day with your family!

Today, blogee friends, I am taking a little diversion away from my usual ramblings and taking a road trip of sorts.  Well, actually a trail as opposed to a road, I suppose.  As some of you know I am an avid walker/hiker and I love trails. So today, I am walking a trail with all of you. 

A couple of days ago, Mike from  We Work For Cheese  had a post called  How Not to Die While Cycling.  In his post he was talking about  the ease/difficulty of cycling around Montreal.  He went on to mention that he went two years without brakes on his bike which might have increased the difficulty level somewhat.  Dare I say, that probably edged him more toward the DIE side of things.

Kansas City like a lot of other U.S. cities doesn't have an inordinate amount of bike traffic.  I am sure,  in part, that is because the infrastructure isn't designed for bicycles and probably the other part is that isn't what people are accustomed to. Which brings up the fact that because cyclists and motorists aren't used to sharing the same roads, they tend not to share "nicely".  On any given day, you can read some "letter to the editor"  with one side or the other finger pointing at the other. (sometimes that finger is pointing straight upward)  So the rule of thumb here is, unless you are a REALLY experienced cyclist OR if you have a death wish, you really need to take your tight little biker's butt over to one of the hundreds of bike paths.

 Kansas and Missouri  have wonderful trails.  Miles and miles of them cut all through the the 4 counties that comprise most of Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO.  I can't get an accurate count of the number of trails or the miles of trails because they tend to be maintained by different cities, different counties, different states and they go by different names.    So for the purpose of today's post I started at mile marker 13 in Olathe, KS at the Trail Head for the Indian Creek Trail.  I will be walking today.  To really do this post justice I should be riding my bike.   So, Mike and Nicky, here is my excuse.  Hubby isn't here to help get my bike off of the hook that it lives on when not in use.  Oh, and I might point out, I walk better than I cycle. 

So let's take a walk on the bike/hike path....

  I am entering the trail head here at Mile Marker 13.  I am now in Olathe, KS

 At  this part of the trail there are  little wooden boxes up in the trees.  What are those, I hear you asking?
Those are to allow a place for Little Brown Bats to nest.   EEKK, I hear you say.  First of all you won't ever see them unless you are out here walking in the dead of night. (which would also be creepy).  AND there is a reason they are there.

Here is a little sign that tells us why the city is creating habitats for the bats.  A single brown bat can catch 1200 mosquitoes/insects in just ONE HOUR.  They often eat 1/4 to 1/3 their own body weight each night. If you weighed 160 pounds and ate 1/4 of your body weight in cheeseburgers, you would have eaten 40 pounds of food or 160 cheeseburgers.  So Olathe is doing it's bit to take a "bite out of" the mosquito population.

The first Mile Marker I come to is 12.5

  Quite a bit of the trail is heavily wooded and fairly level.

A lot of the trail follows a creek that winds all through the county, so there are a number of bridges to cross.

 When I first started walking this trail, I lived in Texas and was here on business trips.  Back then when I came to these forks in the trail it was a 50/50 chance that I end up where I wanted to be.  I have managed not to get lost in quite a while.

This is around Mile Marker 7.  I am leaving Olathe and entering Overland Park, KS

  In order to keep the paths from being impacted my any auto traffic the paths dip under the roadways.  On my walk today, I will go under six major streets.

These condos sit right next the trail.  A couple of units went into foreclosure last year and sold for less than half  of their value.  I think it would have been a beautiful place to sit up on the balcony.  I have been in some of these units and the view is pretty awesome.

Queen Anne's Lace...Some of the best parts of the trail are the wildflowers.  I wish I could send out the smells and the sounds to you.

  In this part of the trail some of the neighborhoods back right up to the trail. This is the neighborhood that Kiddo #1 lives in.  I have been known to take a little pit stop at her place.  Today I didn't but I am around Mile marker 5 here

I love this person's hammock that sits maybe 5 yards off of the trail.  Talk about a nice place to laze around a bit. Wonder what the owners would do, if a hiker/biker just laid down to rest a bit. Maybe that was their intention.

Going under another street.


In a lot of areas their are little signs at the base of the trees to let you know the species.

This morning there were mostly bikers and walkers but here was a rollerblader leaving me in the dust.

Not all of the trail is level.  There are several places in the section I walked this morning that are fairly steep.
I am at Mile Marker 2.5 which means I could walk to the Missouri state line in 2.5 miles.  BUT, I am turning around.  I have to go back to Mile Marker 13 to retrieve my car.

The Kansas trails hook up with the Missouri trails and if one would be so inclined, a person could walk/bike to St. Louis. (which is  about 248 miles) Most of the way you would be walking/riding on the Katy Trail.   The Katy Trail is over 200 miles long and is part of the 8000+ miles of Rails to Trails.  

 The Good for the Day....It's a VERY NICE DAY

The Bad for the Day...Walking back the same distance as you just came.

The weird for the day.

Actually, I have 2 weirds today....

 One of the real estate offices I work from is located near the trail. The Realtors can never find a parking spot because the bikers and hikers use it like a trail head parking lot.

The other weird for the day is that the Katy Trail was named because the trail is actually the old  Missouri, Kansas, Texas Railroad rail bed that was turned into biking/hiking paths. So where did the M go for Missouri???

With the name Katy Trail, you would suppose that part of the trail is in Kansas.   There are plenty of trails  in KS but none that are part of the Katy Trail.  Missouri  (who is left out of the name) on the other hand has the most developed part of the Katy Trail.  Maybe someone should push for a new name.  Kamoty Trail???

Mike and Nicky, I hope you enjoyed the bike trail, even though I am not riding my bike. 


Annie (Lady M) x said...

Man alive! That place looks awesome! Can I come with you next time? I absolutely love hiking too. How many miles did you do in all?

Mike said...

Wow, you weren't kidding! Those are some amazing trails. We have some stuff like that here, but not as wooded and vast. Or maybe we do and I'm just not looking hard enough ;)

Thanks for the mention!

Cheryl P. said...

I would be ecstatic if you ever came to Kansas City. That was just about 16 miles. (8 one way and 8 back) There is a slight variation in the mile markers when I leave the Olathe Trail and take the fork of the Overland Park Trail.

I am thinking that most people are going to find this post really boring but it was a lot of fun taking the hike.

Jayne said...

You walked 16 miles?! I would be a complete cripple. Two miles is about my max and I rarely do that. You've truly put me to shame. What a beautiful area. Too bad you couldn't have grabbed up one of those foreclosed upon condos.

Cheryl P. said...

I am not familiar with hiking trails outside of the US. But just the 8000 + miles of the Rails to Trails paths are awesome, not taking into consideration all the additional trails that are supplied by the Parks dept. and Dept. of Forestry.

You have the advantage of being able to cycle around your city though.

Nicky said...

Cheryl, thank you so much for the shout out, and for sharing your trails with us! I love to hike and unfortunately, don't get to do it often enough. What a gorgeous walk, and it looked like a beautiful day for it! How long did it take you, in all?

Annie (Lady M) x said...

Boring? No chance. It is great hearing what people get up to, and even
better if there are pics! 16 miles is a mighty admirable hike!

Junebug said...

Living in KS ruined me in a way because of all the amazing accessible trails. Wichita has tons of parks and trails. I was shocked when I moved to Atlanta and had difficulty finding a easy accessible trail that didn't take me an hour or two to get to and fro. Savannah is much better than Atlanta. We are loving all the trails around here.

Cheryl P. said...

No, not quite that, I think. Where the trail forks, the mile markers differ a bit. As close as I can figure, looking at the map and knowing that I walk about 4.2 miles an hour, I think I walked 16.5 miles. I should have thought to put on my pedometer but I was preoccupied with the "trying" to take pictures.

I would LOVE to see pics of your river trail. Truly, I think trails are pretty anyway but to lead to a beach....awesome.

Cheryl P. said...

Savannah is so beautiful, I can only imagine how gorgeous your trails must be.
You sound like hubby and I, moving around a bit. That makes for an interesting perspective after living in some different regions of the country.

Cheryl P. said...

I wish I knew more about Canada. I need to do some research. I love the trails here that go through the small towns. There is a certain appeal to the old main streets. I even love the name Le Petit Train du Nord. How charming. Charmant nom if I remember what little I retain from 3 years of french class.

Cheryl P. said...

You are always so kind. Really, about the time I am feeling that I have posted something boring or stupid you say something nice. You are the best.

jayne said...

Cheryl- The only place I've been in Kansas is Wichita, and it didn't seem half as nice Olathe and Overland do. That was a lovely trek down the trail.
And bats--we have some in some tucked under the eaves above our raised deck (where we dine al fresco in the warmer months). I'm always happy when they're buzzing around in the evening, snapping up all those pesky mosquitoes. They do good work, those bats. ;)

Cheryl P. said...

I might be biased but I think this part of the state is much prettier than the area around Wichita. The closer I get to the look and feel of the Ozark areas of Missouri, the more beautiful it is. (to me, any way). That makes perfect sense about the bats. How handy and more effective than citronella candles.

Mike said...

Ha. I need to do my research too. It's actually about 200km, and the longest linear park in Canada (I had no idea). I've only cycled a small portion of it so I've just made it my goal to explore it some more this summer.

Cheryl P. said...

I was just on the park's web site. That looks awesome. Not only beautiful but with all the cafe's and services along the trail it would be a fun outing. Some of the Katy Trail has interesting places to stop but then there are long stretches that are BORING.

meleahrebeccah said...

Oh wow! What an awesome trail. We don't have ANYTHING like this here in NJ. At least not that I am aware of.

Cheryl P. said...

Not sure of the trails but there are some beautiful areas in NJ. I wish people didn't get so bombarded with bad stereotypes of your state. Someone should do a reality show that shows the good stuff.

meleahrebeccah said...

Yeah, they should. Because I would like to see them too!

Aleta said...

I love pictures like this with trails. Makes me want to go on a hike, but the most we have around here are swamps. :)

Cheryl P. said...

I just love the diversity of America. The swamps and marshes have a beauty all of their own. A friend of mine that lives here was just saying how much she enjoyed hiking in Colorado. She doesn't enjoy our local trails at all. No mountains for sure but I find them peaceful. The grass is always greener, as they say. I certainly find your area of the country awesome.